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Moped Laws in West Virginia

Posted in Personal injury on July 9, 2019

Exploring different modes of transit is an exciting process that even young West Virginians can take part in, as their older compatriots search for the perfect vessel. With so many different modes of transport, trying to find the option that works best for you comes with researching not only the pros and cons of each vehicle, but the state’s laws surrounding them.

West Virginia recognizes mopeds as being a valid form of transportation, but with that being said, the state has enacted moped-based laws that all riders, regardless of age, must abide by.

What is a Moped?

Mopeds and motorized bikes are fairly similar in terms of how they are defined, resulting in them falling under the same state-wide description. According to West Virginia law, mopeds:

  • Have either two or three wheels
  • Utilize foot pedals to aid in vehicle propulsion
  • Possess a motor that is not capable of producing more than two brake horsepower, displacing no more than 50 CC
  • Have a maximum speed of 30 mph when operated on a flat surface
  • Have an automatic drive system (doesn’t use a gear-shifting device)

Any vehicle that surpasses these qualifications is recognized by the state as a motorcycle. When looking for a moped, make sure it fits the specifications above to prevent yourself from being held to motorcycle-related guidelines and regulations.

West Virginia Moped Rules

The state of West Virginia wants to maintain public and rider safety when residents operate their mopeds. To ensure that all mopeds are regulated and operated correctly, the following rider guidelines are in place:

  • All mopeds must be titled and registered through the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • Riders and passengers must wear helmets while operating the moped.
  • A moped’s handlebars must not exceed the height of the seat by more than 15 inches.
  • Riders must keep their seats in proper adjustment while riding.
  • Riders must not carry passengers unless their vehicles are specifically made to do so. This means obtaining a vehicle with a second seat or a side car.
  • Riders must equip their moped with a rearview mirror that is visible while operating the vehicle
  • Riders must obey the same traffic laws, lights, as other roadway vehicles do.

Who Can Ride a Moped?

In West Virginia, a vehicle classified as a moped must not possess greater than a 50 CC motor. This qualification means that riders only need to possess a driver’s license to operate their vehicle, unlike motorcycles which require a separate M1 license. Because of the DMV’s age requirements, residents as young as 16-years-old can ride a moped. However, the vehicle must still be titled and registered for legal operation, no matter the rider’s license status.

Penalties for Breaking Moped Law

Because mopeds are considered a type of motor vehicle that requires licensing, they are subject to the same rules and penalties of the road as passenger cars and motorcycles. Generally, this means receiving tickets/citations when operating the moped in an unsafe manner or failing to keep the vehicle up to safe standards.

Like motorcyclists, moped riders must also adhere to additional helmet laws outside of typical traffic violations. Helmets must be worn securely, with chin straps in place. Violating West Virginia’s helmet law comes with a fine.

West Virginia keeps guidelines in place to ensure the safety of its residents, but not all individuals abide by them. Though it may not count as a penalty per se, an additional consequence of disobeying moped laws is sacrificing your and/or your passenger’s safety.

Moreover, violating traffic laws while riding could work against you when seeking compensation for costs associated with an accident. If you or a loved one was injured in a moped accident, our West Virginia personal injury lawyers can help. The legal team at Manchin Injury Law Group offers free consultations. Contact us today.

Taking advantage of the moped as a form of transit comes with many benefits, but riders must remember that even these small vehicles comes with strict guidelines that they must follow. Failing to adhere to these standards could result in fines, accidents, and even injury.