Mopeds, Bicycle or Motorcycle?

Report No: 78-R33

Published in 1978

About the report:

The basic issue concerning mopeds is whether they should be considered as being bicycles - and, basically, be free of regulation, or as motorcycles - and thus be subject to all regulations applicable to motor vehicles. In an effort to resolve this issue, European accident data, Virginia crash data, the laws of the several states, the position taken by a number of the major transportation related organizations, and public opinion were reviewed. In terms of crash, injury, and fatality data, mopeds are more like motorcycles than bicycles. The laws of the various states lack a uniform approach in dealing with mopeds as a form of transportation. Both organizational and public opinion tend to support some type of regulation, but there is little agreement on the specific areas in which there is a need for regulation and how comprehensive this regulation should be. From the review made for this study, it is recommended that a separate category of vehicles be established for mopeds, as they are neither bicycles nor motorcycles. It is further recommended that the vehicles be registered, that their operators be licensed, that maximum allowable speed and horsepower be increased to 30 mph and 1.5 bhp, and that liability insurance be made available for purchase by moped owners.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Charles B. Stoke

Last updated: January 27, 2024

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