There are many benefits to using a moped or motorized bicycle as a primary mode of transportation. Rising gas prices, environmental concerns or a desire to become more active are all reasons for which people are choosing to make the switch to mopeds.
Driving a moped in West Virginia, however, is not without precautions to take and laws to follow. At Johnstone & Gabhart, our commitment to keeping our clients safe on the road has driven us to research West Virginia moped laws and regulations for educational purposes, with the ultimate goal of reducing driving injuries and fatalities as much as possible.
Motorized Bicycles and Mopeds
In West Virginia, motorized bicycles and mopeds are defined as motor-driven cycles that:
- Have two or three wheels;
- Has foot pedals to assist with propulsion;
- Has a motor that produces no more than 2 brake horsepower, and has a displacement no larger than 50 CC;
- Has a maximum speed of 30mph on a level surface; and
- Has an automatic drive system that does not require manual clutching or shifting.
If your bicycle or moped exceeds the above specifications, then it is considered a motorcycle; in this case, you would be required to follow all motorcycle laws and requirements.
Other Moped Requirements
In order to drive on public roads, mopeds must be titled and registered through your local DMV office. Additionally, there are other requirements to follow in order to drive on public roads, including:
- A helmet must be worn at all times while riding, even as a passenger;
- Handlebars must not be more than 15 inches higher than the seat;
- You must ride in a proper seated position;
- You cannot carry a passenger unless the moped is designed for it, such as a passenger compartment or another permanently attached seat;
- It must have a rear-view mirror attached in such a way that it is easily visible while driving; and
- You must obey all standard driving laws.
Do I Need a Motorcycle License to Operate a 49 CC Moped?
Anyone in possession of a normal driver’s license that is over the age of 16 is allowed to operate a moped in West Virginia. However, in order to drive a moped or scooter on public highways, it must be titled and registered in the same way that a regular passenger vehicle or motorcycle would be.
Do I Need a Motorcycle License for a 150 CC Scooter?
Yes. West Virginia considers motorcycles to be “any two-wheeled, motor-driven cycle with an engine of more than 50 CC.” If you have a motorcycle, it must be registered and covered with liability insurance.
Contact an Experienced West Virginia Accident Attorney
While you may be eager to mount up on your moped or scooter and see the road from a new perspective, it is critical that all safety precautions and requirements are met before attempting to operate a moped or other motorized vehicle on a public road.
Unfortunately, no amount of preparation can stop accidents from occurring entirely; they can, however, reduce the risk of injury and death. When accidents occur and someone is severely injured or killed, legal options exist to recover compensation for the damages caused.
For more information about West Virginia’s moped laws, or to discuss your claim with an experienced West Virginia accident attorney, contact Johnstone & Gabhart today for a free legal consultation.