You might have seen them in films or on your travels to Europe: mopeds. The streets in mediterranean countries like Italy or Spain are narrow which makes mopeds a more practical way to get around than motorbikes or cars. Although they are not as fast motorbikes, they come in at a much lower purchase and maintenance price.
While mopeds are less powerful than the average vehicle, you are likely to still need a license to drive a moped. We take a look at why a moped is a good investment and what you need to drive it.
Why Would You Want To Buy A Moped?
The reason why there are so many mopeds on the road in Europe is simple. A moped may not be as flashy as a car and it has many advantages over owning a motorcycle.
One of the biggest benefits of a moped is the price. At around $1,000 a moped costs a lot less than a car, and while you need to have your car insured, insurance for mopeds is only required in 25 states.
Mopeds are also appealing because they are much more fuel-efficient than cars, and they have a much lighter body. This makes them easy to navigate through busy traffic so you don’t get stuck in traffic jams.
In addition, a moped’s engine is located towards the back which gives them a lower center of gravity. This is why on a moped you will feel like you are going fast even at a relatively low speed.
If you don’t have a garage or anywhere to park your vehicle, a moped is much easier to store. Simply store it against the side of your house or in a narrow parking space. Ideal for easy parking in crowded city streets.
However there are also some downsides to driving on a moped. Similar to a motorbike, you’re less safe than in a care because there is no buffering zone in case of an accident which could lead to serious injuries. You’ll also struggle to travel long distances on a moped but if you just want to go around town or shorter distances, it’s ideal.
What License Do You Need For A Moped?
The type of driving license you need for a moped depends on the state you live in, and the engine size. If your vehicle has a 50cc engine or smaller, you will only need to have a standard learner’s permit or a regular driving license.
If the engine is bigger than 50cc, you will need to get a motorcycle endorsement added to your existing driving license. Only with the motorbike permit and a road skills test will you be able to drive a vehicle with a bigger engine. Once you pass the road skills test, you can then legally drive any scooter, moped or motorcycle.
Some states also have age restrictions in place. For example, North Carolina requires their riders to be at least 16 years old, while in Arkansas you need to be at least 10 years old to drive a moped.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Motorcycle License?
If you need a motorcycle license because the engine size of your moped exceeds 50cc, you need to take a road test supervised by an official from the local DMV office. If you do not already have a regular driving license you might also need to take a written road rules exam before your course test.
How long it takes to get a motorcycle license depends on your age and your previous riding experience. If you are already an experienced motorcycle driver with a permit, you could get your motorcycle license after your road rules exam.
For more inexperienced drivers, it can take longer to get a motorbike license. Most states require riders under 18 to carry a learner’s permit before they can get a motorcycle license. They have to carry this permit with them until they accrue a certain number of hours on the road, or a set number of months.
Costs For A Motorcycle License
Compared to a standard driving license, motorcycle licenses are much cheaper. However, the price you pay for this license depends on your age and experience.
Each state has a different cost structure and different application fees. Younger drivers usually pay more for certification than more experienced drivers.
It’s also cheaper to pay for a motorcycle endorsement than a full motorcycle license as you’ll only pay for a modification to your existing license.
What Are The Penalties For Riding A Moped Without A License?
If your moped engine is bigger than 50cc and you do not have a license to drive it, you might face either heavy fines or jail time. For example, driving without a motorcycle license in California can lead to a fine of $1,000 or six months imprisonment.
Other states hand out tax penalties for drivers caught without a license. Repeat offenders will also receive a higher penalty, and if you avoid paying the license fee this could lead to citations of hundreds of dollars.
It’s important to check the type of moped and its engine size before you get onto the road. If its below 50cc, then you don’t need a motorcycle license, but you will still need a standard driving license.
Can You Register A Moped Without A License?
You don’t need a motorcycle license to register your moped. However, you do need insurance, and as most insurance companies require you to have a license, it’s more difficult to register the moped without a license.
For minors it’s slightly more complicated as often they struggle to find an insurer who will sell them coverage. Drivers who are under 18 years old have a lot fewer options for moped insurance than over 18 year olds. This means, most minors have to add their bikes onto their parent’s insurance policy to get coverage. In this case, it doesn’t matter if the minor has a license or not.
While there are insurers who do sell coverage without a license, they usually charger a much higher premium. If you are a young driver or you don’t have a motorcycle license, it’s worthwhile comparing prices from different insurers to ensure you get the cheapest price in your area.