A moped, sometimes called a "scooter," is a motor
vehicle with the engine as an integral part of the vehicle. If the engine
is an add-on it's likely the vehicle is a motor bicycle, which has
limited operation on highways different from motorcycles and mopeds.
A moped engine may not exceed 50 cubic
centimeters (CCs) in size with an automatic transmission, or 130 CCs
in size if it is a bicycle type vehicle with fully operative pedals
for propulsion by human power.
Traditionally, mopeds had fully operative pedals but modern mopeds
are usually more like small motorcycles with an automatic
transmission and no pedals.
A motorized scooter is similar to a traditional foot-propelled
scooter with two small wheels except it is powered by either an
electric motor or gasoline engine. A person operating a motorized
scooter typically is in the standing position although some scooters
are equipped with a bicycle seat.
mopeds, which may be driven legally on public roads, a motorized
scooter may not be operated legally on public roads or sidewalks
within a roadway’s right-of-way.
Motorized scooters do not meet federal safety equipment standards
for motor vehicles and are not designed for operation on roadways.
Therefore, the law treats motorized scooters like lawn tractors,
all-terrain vehicles, go-carts, mini-bikes and other off-road motor
vehicles that are not allowed on public roads.
In addition, anyone operating a motorized scooter on a street or
sidewalk without a valid driver’s license could receive a citation
for operating a motor vehicle without a driver’s license. For
juveniles, such a violation could result in their being ineligible
for a driver’s license when they turn age 16.
Motorized scooters may be operated on private property where the
owner has given consent.
Generally, anyone with a valid drivers license may operate a
moped. However, it is not legal to operate a moped with only a valid
instruction permit. You may obtain a special restricted license,
valid only for the type of vehicle on which you take the road test.
Your nearest drivers license examination station can give you
You must register your moped and you must obtain a certificate of
title. If you buy from a dealer this will be taken care of as part
of the purchase transaction. But if you buy from a private party,
make sure you obtain a title from the seller that has been signed by
all owners and from which all loans have been cleared by the lending
Mopeds are subject to all traffic laws just like any other motor
vehicle. You must obey traffic signals and stop signs, yield to
pedestrians in crosswalks and slow down in school zones.
On roads where the speed limit is 25 MPH or less, two mopeds may
operate side-by-side if both riders agree. On roads where the speed
limit is more than 25, mopeds must ride single file. On roads with
two or more lanes in each direction, mopeds must operate in the
right lane except when turning left.
You may ride your moped on any roadway except freeways or roads
where mopeds are specifically prohibited. You may not operate a
moped on sidewalks, along fence lines or off the traveled surface of
Mopeds are entitled to a full traffic lane but may not impede
traffic. Mopeds may use bike paths if signs permit them or where
they are required by local law to use bike paths. Don't operate a
moped on private property without the property owner's permission.
Mopeds may park in spaces designated for other motor vehicles, in
bicycle racks or on sidewalks, unless otherwise prohibited. But
avoid riding on sidewalks or interfering with pedestrians.
Mopeds are designed for only one person. It is illegal to carry a
passenger on a moped.
Mopeds must meet federal emission, safety and equipment standards
in effect at the time of manufacture. Brakes, lights and turn
signals must be maintained in safe working order.
Wisconsin does not require moped drivers to wear helmets, but be
aware that a moped offers the rider almost no protection in case of
a crash. Even at relatively slow moped speeds, head injuries in
moped crashes are common. A US DOT approved helmet is the best
protection against serious injury.
Mopeds must use headlights when driving at night, but unlike
motorcycles, there is no requirement for headlight use during the
day. However, headlights turned on during the day can greatly
improve moped visibility to other motorists, and it is a very good
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