Gas powered scooters, also known as mopeds, are a fun and efficient way to get around town for those looking for an economical means of transportation. Unfortunately, many people are confused about the laws that govern these vehicles. In this post, we will provide a run down of the laws that govern mopeds in order to clear things up.
First, let’s take a look at what Nevada law says a moped is.
The definition of a moped, according to Nevada law:
“Moped” means a vehicle which looks and handles essentially like a bicycle and is propelled by a small engine which produces not more than 2 gross brake horsepower and which has a displacement of not more than 50 cubic centimeters, and:
1. Is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground but is not a tractor; and
2. Is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 30 miles per hour on a flat surface with not more than 1 percent grade in any direction when the motor is engaged.
Many moped owners have found that they can inexpensively increase the speed and power of their vehicle through aftermarket modifications or by simply removing the scooter’s governor. While this extra speed may be welcomed, it is also illegal when your scooter is able to travel more than 30 mph. If you do modify your scooter/moped, you have turned it into a motorcycle which requires all the endorsements, insurance and safety equipment. If you are pulled over by the police, you will be cited for motorcycle violations if your scooter is modified.
Moped Registration is Now Required
One of the joys of owning one of these inexpensive vehicles has always been the fact that a moped is not required to be registered. That all changes on January 1st 2017. Starting January 1st 2017, moped owners will be required to register their vehicle. Nevada DMV began accepting moped registrations on November 1st 2016.
Unlike motor vehicles and motorcycles that have to be registered every year, a moped only has to be registered one time. The fee for the one time moped registration is $33. This $33 comes with a special license plate to prove your moped is registered. When you sell your moped, you must surrender your plate to the Nevada DMV as these plates do not transfer to new owners nor to new mopeds, if you choose to buy another one.
Insurance Not Required
Although laws have changed with regards to registration, you are not required to purchase insurance. Although it is not required, keep in mind that if you are injured, you cause injury or if you cause damage to someone while operating your scooter, you will be on the hook for the damage or injury you cause.
Helmets Not Required
While helmets are always a good idea, they are not required by law for drivers or passengers of mopeds.
Drivers License Required
This one may come as a surprise to many but the fact is, a Class C drivers license or higher is required when operating a scooter / moped on Nevada roadways. You do not need a motorcycle license but you do need a minimum of a Class C. This means teens with no license and those with an a instruction permit cannot legally ride a moped on the roadways. Scooter salespersons have been known to tell customers that they do not need a license, so be aware.
You are allowed to carry a passenger on your moped as long as your moped is built to carry that passenger. This means your passenger must have a seat and footrests. Also, they must ride behind the driver or astride if your moped happens to be equipped with a sidecar.
Your moped must be equipped with fenders to keep from throwing rocks, dirt, water, etc from the rear.
We hope this post has been helpful to you and has eliminated some of the confusion (and perpetuating false rumors) about riding a moped in Nevada. Keep in mind that law enforcement does enforce these moped laws. In some cases, there are targeted enforcement campaigns directed solely at mopeds. Keep this in mind and follow the rules!