Massachusetts Moped Laws
Mopeds are good on gas, fun to ride and easier to park in busy downtown areas than traditional vehicles. Investing in a moped could save you money and improve your daily commute. You could end up in legal trouble, however, if you accidentally or intentionally breach any of Massachusetts’ moped laws. Refreshing your knowledge of state moped laws could help you avoid an officer stopping you, giving you a fine or even taking away your license. It could also help you avoid dangerous accidents.
What Is a Moped?
Mopeds are unique vehicles in Massachusetts. They are a class of motorized bicycle. Pedal and nonpedal bicycles with motors are mopeds under state law. Mopeds have automatic transmissions, maximum cylinder capacities of 50 cubic centimeters and max speeds of 30 miles per hour. A moped that can travel over 30 miles per hour but under 40 is a Limited Use Motorcycle, not a moped. These vehicles come with their own set of rules. Mopeds without the piece that restricts speed (the restrictor plate) are technically motorcycles in Massachusetts.
Do You Need a License?
You need a driver’s license to operate a moped in Massachusetts. Moped operators have to be at least 16 years old and hold standard driver’s licenses or learner’s permits. Moped operators do not need a special or Class M license to operate a moped as you do to operate a motorcycle. You must register your moped, but you do not need a title. You must affix your registration sticker to your moped and keep it up to date each year.
Moped Helmet Requirements
Massachusetts has some of the strictest helmet laws in the country. The state has a universal law requiring all motorcyclists, moped riders and motorized scooter riders to wear helmets at all times. Moped riders and their passengers must wear helmets regardless of how old they are or how much insurance coverage they purchase. Operating a moped requires a helmet that meets or exceeds federal safety standards. Look for the Department of Transportation (DOT) sticker on your helmet to make sure it is compliant.
Moped Operator Rules and Responsibilities
Some of the most important laws to know as a moped operator in Massachusetts are those that will help you safely coexist with other roadway users. Moped operator rules and responsibilities are critical for avoiding accidents. Breaching any of your duties as a vehicle operator could lead to at-fault collisions and serious injuries. Do your part by learning and obeying Massachusetts’ moped-related laws.
- Moped operators must obey the rules of the road. They must stop at red lights, intersections and stop signs. They must also follow other roadway signs and traffic laws.
- Mopeds must ride in the road or bicycle lanes, not on sidewalks. A moped vehicle cannot travel on express state highways that do not allow bicycles.
- Mopeds must follow the flow of traffic, riding in the same direction as other vehicles. They can travel two abreast, but cannot lane-split or travel in the same lane as cars.
- Moped operators must use hand signals or signal lights to motion their intent to turn.
- Moped operators must obey all posted speed limits. No moped may travel faster than 25 miles per hour in Massachusetts.
- Moped operators cannot drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol limit is the same as motor vehicle drivers: 0.08%.
Breaking a rule of the road on a moped could end in a citation and a fine. If you break a rule and cause an accident, you may also face liability for victims’ damages. The Department of Motor Vehicles may also suspend your driver’s license for serious offenses. Obeying the state’s moped laws and best safety practices could help you avoid a collision and arrive at your destination alive.