According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, an estimated 17,000 mopeds are being operated on North Carolina roads.
Beginning July 1, 2015, a new law, G.S. 20-53.4, requires moped drivers to register their mopeds and pay the same fees as motorcyclists. A moped, by definition, cannot exceed 30 miles per hour on a level surface and cannot possess an engine larger than 50 cubic centimeters.
The new law does not mandate that drivers be licensed to operate a moped vehicle, but does require owners to pay $40 for a title and at least $15 to register their scooters and get a license plate from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
In order to be registered with the DMV and operate on a highway or public vehicular area (PVA), a moped must meet the following requirements:
- The moped must have manufacturer’s certificate of origin.
- The moped must be designed and manufactured for use on highways or PVAs.
According to the new law, if owners do not have a certificate of origin, they must submit an affidavit stating why they do not have the certificate and attest that they are entitled to registration.
A person at least 16 years of age who is wearing a safety helmet may lawfully drive a moped on public roadways in North Carolina without the need to have a driver’s license or automobile liability insurance.
Despite the fact that mopeds are motorized vehicles, they are treated more like bicycles than automobiles for the purpose of North Carolina’s motor vehicle laws. The only “rules of the road” that apply to mopeds are those that apply to all vehicles:
- Prohibiting driving while impaired
- Requiring that vehicles be driven on the right half of the highway
- Stopping at stop signs
- Obeying speed limits
The issue of mopeds parking on city sidewalks has been a concern for some time now. Asheville Police Department (APD) officers are unable to ticket the illegal parking of these vehicles, due to a lack of registration. Without knowing who the “vehicle” belongs to, a citation cannot be issued. The only repercussion would be to issue a written warning. The City of Asheville has been working diligently to identify additional parking specific to mopeds. We hope this will improve both the pedestrian experience and pedestrian safety.
Over the course of the last 12 months (May 2014 – April 2015), APD has received reports of 73 moped thefts. Officers have a very difficult time tracing something to an owner with no registration. The new laws will make this much easier. In addition, the City is also researching devices that will allow drivers to secure their mopeds.
The Asheville DMV Title & Registration Office is at 780 Hendersonville Road, Suite 8, in the South Forest Shopping Center. For more information, visit http://local.dmv.org/north-carolina/buncombe-county/asheville.
Moped safety tips
- A moped should travel using the right-hand side of the lane. To pass a moped you must stay at least two feet to the left.
- North Carolina law requires all drivers and passengers mopeds to wear a motorcycle safety helmet that complies with federal law.
- The same DWI laws that apply to the drivers of other motor vehicles also apply to moped operators.
- Stay out of traffic, as much as possible.
- Do not share lanes with other vehicles.
- Make sure other drivers can see you – wear light or brightly colored clothing.
- At an intersection, never “squeeze” between parked cars and moving traffic.
- If possible, install electric turn signals on your moped. Otherwise, be sure to use hand signals when you turn or stop.