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Iowa Moped Laws

Iowa Moped Laws

Bicycle Definition

A bicycle is classified as one of the following:
(1) A device having two wheels and having at least one saddle or seat for the use of a rider, which is propelled by human power.
(2) A device having two or three wheels with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (one horsepower), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden, is less than 20 miles per hour.


New Moped Definition

A "motorized bicycle," or moped, is motor vehicle having a saddle or a seat for the use of a rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and not capable of operating at a speed in excess of 30 miles per hour on level ground unassisted by human power. The maximum speed of 30mph needs to be printed on the certificate of origin from the manufacturer.

The new definition for a moped written above replaces the reference to "an engine having a displacement of no greater than 50c.c." The change in the definition allows electric motors or electric engines to be used as a source for moped propulsion.

Additionally, for a moped to be classified as a motor vehicle, it must be able to travel at a speed of atleast 20mph while driving up a 3 percent grade. If a vehicle cannot go 20mph up a 3 percent grade, it is not permitted to be operated on Iowa's streets and roadways


Moped Licensing

Any person with an adult operator's license, chaufferur license, commercial driver's license or an intermediate license may operate a moped. No motorcycle license is required. If someone does not have an adult operator's license, they are still allowed to drive a moped if they fall into one of the categories below.

  • Adults (age 18 and older) who do not have a driver's license must be issued a moped permit. The standard operator's knowledge examination and a vision screening are required. Skills testing may be required at the discretion of the driver’s licensing examiner
  • Persons age 16 through 17 who do not have at least an intermediate license must be issued a moped permit, under the same conditions as listed in the previous paragraph.
  • Persons age 14 through 15 must be issued a moped permit, but must first complete a moped rider education course approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation. The standard operator's knowledge examination and a vision screening are required. Skills testing may be required at the discretion of the DOT examiner.

  • Moped traffic laws

  • Helmets are not required to operate a moped or motorcycle
  • Passengers are not allowed on any mopeds.
  • A moped must be equipped with a safety flag that extends not less than 5 feet above the ground attached to the rear of the moped. The safety flag must be triangular in shape, with an area of not less than 30 square inches, and be Day-Glo in color.
  • Mopeds may not be operated side by side in the same traffic lane.
  • Mopeds must not be operated between lanes of traffic, adjacent lines or rows of vehicles.
  • Mopeds must have a lighted headlamp at all times when operated on a public street or roadway.
  • Moped operators must not carry a package, bundle or other article that prevents the operator from keeping both hands on the handlebars.

  • Moped Registration

    To register any motor vehicle in Iowa, you must have the Manufacturer's certification label on your vehicle stating that the it meets federal moter vehicle safety standard. Without a manufacturer's certification label, vehicles cannot be titled or registered.


    External Resources
    Iowa Department of Transportation
    Registering and Titling Mopeds from the Iowa Department of Transportation



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