Maryland Moped Laws

Maryland Moped Laws

Moped Definition

A moped is a bicyle that meets the following requirements:

  1. Is designed to be propelled by human power with some assistance from a motor.
  2. Has pedals that drive the bicyle mechanically
  3. Has two or three wheels, of which are more than 14 inches in diameter
  4. Has a motor with a rating of 1.5 brake horsepower or less, and, if the motor is an internal combustion engine,a capacity of 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement or less.
Mopeds are also not allowed to be operated at a speed greater than 30 MPH on public roads and highways.

Motor Scooter Definition

A motor scooter is a type of non-pedaled vehicle that meets the following standards:

  1. Has two wheels, of which one is 10 inches or more in diameter
  2. Has a seat for the operator
  3. Has a step-through chassis
  4. Is equipped with an automatic transmission.
  5. Has a motor with a rating of 2.7 brake horsepower or less, and if the motor is an internal combustion engine,with a capacity of 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement or less.
Generally, motor scooters can achieve a speed of up to 40 MPH, but this varies by the manufacturer and model that you have. However, a motor scooter is not allowed to exceed the speed of 30 MPH on public roadways.

Scooter Definition

A scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle that has handlebars and is designed to be stood on by the operator. These devices cannot be legally operated on public roadways or sidewalks.

Moped Licensing

To operate a moped in Maryland, riders must have a valid drivers license from which ever state that they live in, or a valid Maryland moped operator's permit issued by the Maryland MVA. Failure to present the proper licenses needed will result in a fine of around $315.

Moped Traffic Laws

  • Moped operators are not required to wear a helmet.
  • Mopeds may not be operated at speed greater than 30mph
  • Mopeds cannot be operated on highways that have a speed limit greater than 50mph.
  • Where there is a bike lane paved to a smooth surface or a shoulder paved to a smooth surface, a person operating a bicycle or a motor scooter shall use the bike lane or shoulder and may not ride on the roadway, except for common traffic procedures, which include:
    1. overtaking and passing another bicycle, motor scooter, pedestrian, or other vehicle within the bike lane or shoulder if the overtaking and passing cannot be done safely within the bike lane or shoulder
    2. preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway
    3. When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder to avoid debris or other hazardous condition
    4. When reasonably necessary to leave the bike lane or shoulder because the bike lane or shoulder is overlaid with a right turn lane, merge lane, or other marking that breaks the continuity of the bike lane or shoulder.
  • Gas and electric motorized toy scooters cannot be operated on sidewalks
  • A person may not operate a bicycle or a motor scooter on any highway or roadway while the person is wearing any headset covering both ears

  • Moped and Motor Scooter Registration

    All "motor vehicles" are required to be registered in Maryland, but vehicles classified as either motor scooters or mopeds are exempt from this law. So all mopeds and motor scooters do not need to be registered with tags in Maryland.

    Maryland Helmet Law Changes

    In the 2006 legislative session in Maryland, House Bill 496 (PDF) brings up the debate about whether helmets should be required for the riders and operators of mopeds and motor scooters. The bill introduces the idea of making moped and motor scooter operators required to wear helmet and eye protection, just like the motorcycle laws. The law suggests riders under the age of 21 be required to abide by this law. Riders and operators over 21 would not be required to wear a helmet or eye protection if they can provide proof of proper medical insurance.

    External Resources
  • Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
  • Montgomery Police Motor Vehicle defintions
  • Maryland Legislative Helmet Law Bill
  • Berwyn Heights Police Department Moped Laws

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