A person who does not want the burden of a big car for short trips and does not need or want the power of a motorcycle may opt to ride a moped or scooter. Mopeds and scooters are also sometimes referred to as motorized bicycles, and though they are smaller, lighter, and slower than motorcycles, they can still be involved in Indiana traffic accidents.
A moped is defined as a 2 or 3-wheeled vehicle powered by an electric motor or engine that:
- May not have more than 2 horesepower
- May not be more than 50cc
- Must have an automatic transmission
- Must not be intended to exceed speeds of 25 mph by design
Additionally, mopeds may only carry 1 occupant, the driver, who must be at least 15 years old and carry a state-issued ID or driver’s license, and can be driven by twos in a single lane. Riders under 18 years old must wear a DOT-approved helmet and eye protection. Riding a moped does not require a motorcycle license or endorsement.
Mopeds and scooters have "blended" in recent years. "Moped," which traditionally has bicycle pedals, has become synonymous with "scooter," and although a scooter may be a moped, a moped can never be a scooter. A scooter has:
- An engine or motor
- A seat, but not a saddle
- Two wheels
- A floorboard for the driver’s feet
Scooters, like mopeds, are intended for one driver and no passengers. If the scooter fulfills the moped power restrictions, it is considered a moped and does not require licensing. However, if the scooter has more than 2 horsepower, more than 50 cc, and its designed speed is greater than 25 mph, it is considered a motorcycle, in which case the rider must have a motorcycle license or endorsement and obey all laws pertaining to motorcycles.
Causes of Moped and Scooter Crashes
Because mopeds and the majority of scooters do not require any type of licensing, the people that choose to ride them are often young. Though the lack of power and automatic transmission makes them easier to ride than a motorcycle, they still require a different set of driving skills. Drivers of passenger cars need to be just as aware of scooters and mopeds as they are of motorcycles. Moped and scooter riders also have a responsibility to drive defensively.
The low speed of mopeds and scooters makes them targets for speeding or reckless motorists. Many moped and scooter accidents are caused by speeding drivers who are trying to get around the moped or scooter. As with motorcycles, mopeds and scooters offer practically no protection for their rider, thus moped and scooter riders are at risk of suffering serious injury.
Everyone on the road has responsibilities to themselves and to other motorists to drive safely and lawfully, whether they are passenger car drivers, motorcyclists, big rig operators, or moped or scooter riders. Not taking that responsibility seriously puts others in danger. As a motorcycle enthusiast as well as an experienced and responsible rider, I understand the dangers my fellow riders face every day. If you have suffered injury in a moped or scooter accident that was caused by the negligence or recklessness of another driver, I may be able to help. Being a knowledgeable Indiana moped and scooter accident lawyer, I have the skills and resources to help you hold irresponsible people accountable for the losses and damages you have suffered.