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Mopeds are becoming increasingly popular with drivers in Indiana. We understand why. For one, mopeds don’t guzzle tons of gas. They take up less space than a car, so they’re easier to store and park. They also look stylish, so they can turn heads when you whizz by.

However, it’s important to know that while mopeds may resemble souped-up bicycles, they are a little more complicated. Namely, because they are motorized vehicles and not manually operated, licensing, operation, and insurance require some specialized know-how. And, if you’re in an accident involving a moped, you should be aware of your legal rights and obligations. Learn more about Indiana moped laws with the experts at Alvarez Law Office.

What is a Moped?

It’s a small type of motorized cycle. It is powered by either an internal combustion engine or battery-powered motor, and it also has pedals. While licensing tends to be less tough than full-fledged motorcycles, it’s tougher than for plain pedal bikes.

The design of these wheeled vehicles can vary—some have a step-through frame closer to a conventional bicycle, and others look more like a pared-down motorcycle. Most have two wheels, but in Indiana, some three-wheeled vehicles fall into that category.

Moped vs. Motorcycle: What’s the Difference?

Mopeds and motorcycles might look closely related, but there are characteristics that distinguish the two. To be considered a moped, a vehicle has to meet all three of the following requirements:

  • engine displacement at or below 100cc (cubic centimeters)
  • top speed of less than 30 mph on pavement
  • no manual gear shift

If it does not meet all three of these, it is considered a motorcycle.

Moped vs. Scooter: What’s the Difference?

Typically, a scooter features a step-through frame much like most mopeds. The key differences between the two vehicles have to do with top speed. While mopeds cannot top 30 mph, scooter speeds vary according to motor size. For example, a 150cc scooter can reach 60 mph, and a 250cc scooter can hit 75 mph.

What’s the Legal Age to Drive a Moped in Indiana?

To legally operate a moped in the state, drivers must be at least 15. It is important to know that drivers or riders under 18 must wear both a helmet and eye protection while on a moped. You cannot simply put on a baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses. The helmet should be headgear approved by the US Department of Transportation. Also, the required protective eyewear should be proper glasses, goggles, or a transparent face shield attached to the helmet.

Do You Need a License to Drive a Moped?

While moped operators do not need to obtain an Indiana motorcycle license, they do need to register with the state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles. A motorcycle license or driver’s license qualifies a Hoosier to operate a moped, but to legally drive a moped, you must possess at least a BMV-issued identification card.

Do You Need a License to Drive a 50CC Scooter in Indiana?

Yes, engine displacement of 50CC is the level at which a motorized vehicle requires a license.

Do You Need to Acquire Plates for a Moped in Indiana?

Yes—in 2014, Indiana announced that much like motorcycles and scooters, mopeds must have plates. These moped plates feature a different color than other plates and cost $26.35 annually.

Do You Need Insurance on a Moped in Indiana?

Actually, while scooter and motorcycle drivers in the state are required by law to purchase insurance for their vehicles, moped operators are not required to do so. Operators should consider obtaining a policy; it can prove useful if the driver is responsible for or is injured in an accident.

How Much is Moped Insurance?

Depending on the type of coverage and the moped or scooter in question, the cost of a policy for a two-wheeled vehicle can vary. According to ValuePenguin.com, the annual cost of insurance averages around $250, but a basic policy can go as low as $140, and more extensive coverage up to nearly $2,000. Generally, the more extensive coverage is, the better an operator’s protection is in the event of an auto-related accident.

Where Can I Drive My Moped?

The places a moped can be driven are different than for motorcycles. They cannot be operated on sidewalks or interstate highways, but they can be driven on city streets, driveways, parking lots and other paved surfaces. Failure to travel on approved roadways and other violations can land a moped driver hefty fines. Here are some of the different rules potentially impacting moped riders:

  • Mopeds without both a headlight and taillight cannot be operated more than 30 minutes before sunrise or 30 minutes after sunset
  • Mopeds cannot be used to hunt, kill or chase wild or domestic birds or animals
  • Like other vehicles, they are expected to have a working muffler to prevent excessive or unusual noise and smoke

If a moped driver commits a violation, they are considered guilty of either a Class C infraction or a Class B misdemeanor, which could lead to a fine or even jail time.

What Should I Do if I’m in a Moped Accident?

If you are involved in an accident while riding a moped, first seek medical attention. Then, contact a personal injury attorney. A lawyer with experience in automobile, motorcycle, scooter and moped collision cases can work to ensure that your rights are protected, that your needs are met, and that you receive the compensation you deserve for injuries, property damage and associated losses.

The personal injury attorneys of Alvarez Law Office recently helped a client—a moped driver struck and injured by a motorcycle—land a settlement of $100,274.14 in a jury verdict. Obtaining compensation for the client was no easy journey. The insurance company offered the moped driver no money to help cover the thousands of dollars in medical bills he received to treat his injuries. The initial court ruling (which decided against the injured moped driver) left out crucial evidence that would have helped the driver. Attorneys Walter and Steven Alvarez of Alvarez Law Office spent years fighting for the victim, ultimately convincing a jury to award him six figures in compensation for his injuries.

If you are curious about how Indiana’s moped laws might impact you, especially if you have been injured in a moped-related accident, contact Alvarez Law Office. Our consultations are free.