Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingMotorcycles and Biking Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit – Do You Need A License?

Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit – Do You Need A License?

by Jordan Harris
Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit

Mopeds are probably the cheapest mode of travel if you want to get from point A to point B. Mopeds are known for their low maintenance cost and high fuel efficiency. What they lack in power, they make up by being a cheap mode of travel. Mopeds do not have a standard law so, can you drive a moped with a permit?

The reason why these two-wheelers do not have a standard law is that they are not your everyday vehicle. Mopeds are reducing in numbers as time progresses. After all, they cannot go faster than 40 mph. But still different states have different rules and regulations when it comes to the moped. This means not all states are going to require you to have a license or a permit to ride a moped.

A moped certainly seems like a great mode of travel, at least to get you from place to place within the city. But before you buy a moped you must make yourself familiar with the laws in your area. You surely do not want the cops at your tail, when your moped can barely get to 40 mph.

The paperwork needed to drive a moped, and the answer to “can you drive a moped with a permit” lies below.

What Classifies As A Moped?

Before understanding why moped laws differ from other motorcycle laws, you need to understand what separates the moped from every other two-wheeler in the road. If you were wondering whether mopeds and motorcycles are the same or what is the difference between a motorcycle and a scooter, there are some key differences.

Though motorcycles, scooters, and mopeds all have two wheels, they are not the same. They have key differences that differentiate one from another. This is why you do not have the same laws for mopeds that motorcycles and scooters have to obey.

What Is A Moped?

In the US, mopeds aren’t something that you often see in the streets. When you rarely see one, it is often confused as a scooter. Both the scooter and a moped look similar in many ways. A moped can easily be mistaken as a smaller scooter.

A moped is also a bicycle-type vehicle. In some models of the moped, you might also see a pair of pedals similar to a bicycle. Such a moped can also be paddled, without the use of an engine. Since it is slightly heavier than a bicycle, it is not as easy to peddle. Still, it is light enough to peddle if needed. But not all mopeds have paddles.

The term moped is derived from the peddles attached to a moped. Motor-pedal which later turned into a moped. In older mopeds, pedals were a must-have. The motor was just to assist the rider. You would need to peddle the moped and reach a certain velocity before you could start the engine. The rider would have to use the paddles to propel the bike so the helper motor can get in on the action. After that peddling is not necessary.

A moped typically has an engine smaller than 50cc. With such a small engine it cannot reach speeds of over 28 mph. Due to this fact, it is not to be ridden on highways, as it cannot keep up with the traffic.

Newer mopeds have a basic electrical system, as well, but still can be ridden solely using pedals. A major advantage that you get by having a moped with an electrical system is that you would have a self-started, and you won’t have to paddle every time you need to start your moped. Older mopeds do not have this electrical system.

How Is A Moped Classified By The Law?

A moped is such an unusual vehicle. If you think about it, it is more of a bicycle than a motorized vehicle. After all, you can pedal it and not have to use the tiny motor. But if you look at it from a different angle, it has a motor and it consumes fuel, so it cannot be considered a bicycle. So how is it classified under the law?

According to the law, a moped has an engine. This means it is not a bicycle and it needs to be registered as a bike. Even though it is a bike it does not fall into the category of a scooter or any other bike. Different states have different laws to classify a bike or a scooter as a moped.

2 ways allow classifying a moped. It is either the size of the engine or the top speed. Which of the above is used, differs from state to state. When it is classified by the size of the engine, the engine size needs to be less than 50cc. The maximum speed should be less than 28 to 30 mph.

According to the laws of Kansas and a few other states, a moped can have an engine of up to 130cc. Therefore as long as a vehicle has an engine and does not solely run on pedaling power, and is small enough or slow enough it is classified as a moped.

Difference Between A Scooter And A Moped

By definition, a scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle with a step-through chassis and footrest platform. And the moped is defined as a two-wheeled vehicle equipped with bicycle-like pedals that the rider uses to propel the vehicle. This implies one of the key differences between a moped and a scooter.

The main difference between a scooter and a moped comes down to the engine size. A moped can only have an engine of 50cc. A scooter needs to have an engine between 50-250cc  to be classified as so. While the scooter will have a top speed that is proportional to the size of the engine, a moped could only have a top speed between 28 to 30 mph.

Just like a scooter a moped also has a fully automatic transmission.

Are Mopeds The More Economic Option?

Transportation costs can add up to be a huge sum at the end of the month if you are not cautious. Especially when fuel and gas prices fluctuate frequently. Even if you are someone who uses public transportation who uses means of public transportation, the costs can easily add up.

First, let us look at the initial cost. While cars, bikes, or any other means of transport costs thousands of dollars to purchase, the moped is much cheaper. You can own a brand new moped for about $1000. If you search at the right places, you can get one for a much lower price. You rarely find a moped that is marked at more than $1000. These days electrical mopeds are becoming popular. These do occasionally go above the thousand-dollar mark.

Due to the simplicity of mopeds, mopeds are significantly cheaper to own. Well compared to cars and bikes, there aren’t a lot of components going into the moped. The essentials along with an engine and transmission make up the moped. This is the bare minimum amount of components that make the moped ridable.

Unlike cars which require you to grease, oil, fuel, repair, and fix elements, there are just a few parts of mopeds that require constant attention. This makes it relatively cheaper to maintain. Even in case of a breakdown, the major components associated with the moped are not that expensive to replace. Compare that with any other automobile and you would see a drastic difference. Therefore it is evident that mopeds are much cheaper to maintain.

Fuel Costs

This is the main reason why a moped is much more economic than anything else on wheels. Imagine a motorcycle, even a motorcycle can only go about 50 miles per gallon at best. When you think about a car, that maybe can get 30 to 40 miles out of a gallon. If you consider a sports car, you will only get half of that number.

Now let us look at a moped. A moped can easily get to triple digits using a gallon of fuel. This is significantly better than any other vehicle. This means you can drive across the country for just over a thousand dollars. Not that riding cross country in a moped is the best idea, but just to give a scope of the fuel costs while riding a moped.

Considering all these, the cost to purchase a moped, maintenance costs, and fuel costs owning a moped and using it as a mode of transports is a much more economical option.

Disadvantages Of Owning A Moped

There aren’t many disadvantages to owning a moped than the obvious. First off, riding a moped isn’t the coolest option. It is a really small vehicle. If you are a tall person riding a moped can get uncomfortable. It is not easy to ride while hunched over the handlebars. Sometimes, you do not want your peers to see you driving around at 20mph in a moped.

That brings us to the speed limit. Even if you want to, you won’t be able to get past the 30 mph mark. The lack of speed proves to throw a few more challenges at you as well. For starters, you won’t be able to drive a moped on a highway. Even in the streets, you won’t be able to handle the traffic beside you.

And now you have to think about the reliability of a moped as well. Mopeds aren’t given a lot of thought during production. Therefore they aren’t built to be that reliable. Most mopeds in the market are also quite old. A moped requires a major repair every 20,000 miles on average. This major repair costs on average $750. But even with these regular maintenances, it is still cheaper to maintain than any car.

These are the only disadvantages to using a moped as a mode of travel. But still, the fact that the moped is significantly cheaper to own and drive trumps any other disadvantages associated with the vehicle.

What Do You Need To Drive A Moped?

Even though a moped does not give the idea of a genuine bike, it is still considered similar to one under the law. The laws are that apply to a motorcycle and a moped aren’t the same but are similar on many fronts. The laws regarding the moped differ from state to state, therefore depending on the state you live in you might succumb to different laws. So, can you drive a moped with a permit?

To drive a moped and still completely follow the law, you will need everything mentioned below.

1. Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit – License

For a motorcycle, a license is required to legally ride it on the roads in every single state. With the moped that is not the case. Not every state requires you to have a moped license. Generally, even if you are riding a moped under 50cc, a driver’s license or at least a learner’s permit is required.

In states like Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin, you can legally drive your moped with your regular driver’s license. While all the other states you would have to get a moped license.

Even the minimum age requirement differs from state to state. For mopeds, under 50cc the minimum age limit in Arkansas is 10 and in New Mexico, it is 13. For a scooter or motorcycle above 50cc it is 14 and above  Alabama, Alaska and Kansas. In any one of the rest of the states, the minimum age limit to ride a moped spans between 16 and 18. Some states even require a motorcycle rider education program for young riders.

2. Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit – Title

Unlike motorcycles, which require a title registration in every single state, it is not the case with the moped. The moped only requires a title and registration in a few states, 35 to be exact along with Washington DC.

The need for a license plate also differs from state to state. This entirely depends on the size of the engine and the top speed of the moped. If you do need special license plates and an identification card, you would have to pay a one-time registration fee of $30, the fee can get higher depending on the place you live in.

Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit

3. Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit – Insurance

Only 25 states in the US require you to have your moped insured. Again for motorcycles, the law differs, and you will have to insure your bike in all of the states.

The cost to insure a moped is very low. And the cost varies according to your age, your moped, and how long you’ve had a license. Taking the state’s motorcycle training class will further reduce the cost of insuring a moped.

Paperwork is not the only thing that you need to have to legally ride a moped. Now that we are clear with the paperwork we can get to the rest of the items needed to ride a moped.

4. Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit – Protection Clothing

The need for protective clothing while in a moped also varies from state to state. Helmets that are DOT approved and which consist of an approved design, that is to have foam on either side and a protective layer covering the back of the head, are required to be worn while riding a moped or motorbike in about 20 states. In some of these states wearing a helmet is only compulsory for young riders.

While a few states are lenient with helmet laws, states like Colorado, Illinois, and Iowa do not require helmets at all. While there are also a handful of states that require you to wear goggles as well if your moped doesn’t have a windshield.

5. Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit – Traffic Laws For A Moped

Generally, the same laws that are meant for motorcycles and scooters apply for mopeds as well. While some states deviate from this concept and have a few additions making a different set of laws for the moped. Riding between lanes is prohibited in all the states, but riding side by side is permitted in a few.

Due to the low speed of the moped, it is not permitted to ride one on highways. And it is safer to stick to roads with low speeds limit for safety reasons. A moped is also required to have headlights, taillights, turn signals, and a horn. Some mopeds do not have these features. Without these accessories riding a moped is not permitted.

A moped is a completely different vehicle from everything else on the streets. The paperwork that you need to legally own and drive a moped is also different. You must be well educated on the laws regarding mopeds in your state.

Can you drive a moped with a permit? Depending on your region the paperwork required changes. But you can drive a moped with a permit if you live in the right state.

Do They Still Make Mopeds

Mopeds are still a well sought-after type of 2 wheeler. A lot of automobile manufacturers, still invest in making mopeds. These companies include some big names like Honda, Yamaha, Aprilla, and many more. Even if you want to buy a brand new moped you do have plenty of options to choose from.

Here are a few great choices for you to start scooting.

Honda Ruckus

The Honda Ruckus is great for scooting the paved roads or even the gravel tracks. Unlike many other mopeds or scooters, the Honda Ruckus is capable of going off-road as well. The Ruckus is fun to ride, affordable, and easy to maintain. There is a huge community of Ruckus enthusiasts so if you want to be in a moped community, you’d be welcome.

The Ruckus is much good looking than any other moped. For a 194 pound bike, it looks aggressive and sporty. This is a cheap moped to purchase, and there are plenty of options in the used as well as the brand new market. The maintenance for this ride is cheap to almost non-existent. Most importantly you can get up to 114 miles per gallon.

Yamaha BWs 50

The Yamaha Bws 50 is a small and light city cruiser. The 4-stroke 50cc motor is made purely for urban use. Whether you are saving a few bucks commuting, or on your way to the groceries, this is the moped to consider.

The Yamaha BWs 50 is equipped with a 49cc, liquid-cooled, and fuel-injected 4-stroke engine. It has enough power for cruising in the city and still have a proper fuel economy. You can expect to get up to 130 mpg with BWs 50.

The 23L compartment under the seat is perfect for storing anything from your scooter helmet, groceries, or your laptop. Yamaha excels in their production of two-wheelers and the BWs 50, even though it is a moped it is no exception.

Motorcycle and Motor-Driven Cycle Facts:

  1. A motorcycle has 2-3 wheels and an engine size larger than 150 cc, while a motor-driven cycle has 2-3 wheels and an engine size smaller than 149 cc.
  2. Motorcycles with 3 wheels or a sidecar only require a Class C driver’s license, while a motorcycle license (M1) is required to drive a motor-driven cycle.
  3. Mopeds, also known as motorized bicycles, have 2-3 wheels and an electric motor with an automatic transmission that produces less than 4 gross brake horsepower.
  4. To drive a moped, a motorcycle license (M1 or M2) is required, and the driver must be at least 16 years old and wear a helmet while riding.
  5. Special license plates and an identification card, along with a one-time $23 registration fee, are required to register a moped.
  6. Moped registration does not require renewal in the same way as other vehicles.
  7. A motorized scooter has 2 wheels, a motor, handlebars, and a floorboard, and can only be driven on a bicycle path, trail, or bikeway, not on a sidewalk.
  8. A speed limit of 15 mph cannot be exceeded when driving a motorized scooter.
  9. A motorized scooter does not need to be registered, and any class driver license is sufficient to drive it.
  10. Insurance is not needed to register a moped.

Verdict – Can You Drive A Moped With A Permit

Whether you are trying to save some money by transferring to an alternate mode of travel or just want a fun ride to cruise around the town, a moped is made for you.

Nothing is more economic than a moped. The maintenance cost for a moped is really low. The maintenance cost for a moped cannot be lower. If you are on a tight budget you could easily buy a used moped for under $1000. If you have some more money to spend, you can buy a brand new moped for about $3000. A brand new moped has some perks that a used one doesn’t have but, but when weighing value for money, a used moped seems to be a better choice.

The laws regarding a moped change from state to state. Generally for a two-wheeler to be considered as a moped, it needs to have a 50cc or smaller engine. The top speed should also lie between 28-30 miles per hour. Except for Kansas in the rest of the states, this is how a moped is classified.

To answer the question, can you drive a moped with a permit, again the answer depends on the state you live in. The paperwork you need to drive a moped varies from state to state.

Which leads us to, can you drive a moped with a permit? Yes, you can drive a moped with a permit, depending on where you live.

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