A Look at the Laws Governing Mopeds and Scooters

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Indianapolis Traffic Attorney Blog: Laws Governing Mopeds and Scooters (Motor Driven Cycles)

Have you lost your license and elected to utilize a moped or scooter for transportation?  Indiana, which refers to such vehicles as Motor Driven Cycles (or MDCs), has new requirements for operators of these vehicles.  Riders are now required to register these vehicles, and one class of MDC requires proof of insurance.  Riders must also maintain some government-issued identification specific to the class of MDC being operated.  Keep reading for more detailed information on the classes of MDCs and the requirements applicable to each.
For a good overview, click here.
Indiana now classifies MDCs into two groups: Class A and Class B.  Class A MDCs generally are those with no more than five brake horsepower.  These vehicles, the more powerful of Class A and Class B, also require the owner to provide proof of insurance meeting the state minimum.  Once properly registered with the BMV, Class A MDCs will be issued a license plate much like any car or motorcycle.
If you want to operate a Class A MDC, here’s what you need to know: if you’re 18 years old or younger, you must wear a helmet.  Passengers are allowed if a proper passenger seat is present, and headlamps must be used at all times during operation.  While many people may find this to be common sense, packages cannot be carried in hand during operation.  And Class A MDCs must be operated near the right edge of the roadway unless overtaking another vehicle or preparing for a left-hand turn.  Additionally, you must have an operator’s license with a motorcycle endorsement, with or without a Class A MDC endorsement.
Class B MDCs are those with a cylinder capacity of no greater than 50 cubic centimeters.  Unlike their more powerful counterparts, Class B MDCs do not require proof of insurance.  However, they must still be registered and display a license plate.  As with Class A MDCs, Class B MDCs require helmets be used by those 18 or younger, require headlamps during operation, require that the driver not carry packages in hand, and require operation near the right edge of the roadway unless passing or turning left.  Unique to Class B MDCs are restrictions including operation at no more than 35 mph, no passengers, and no highway or sidewalk operation.
While any valid license or permit allows operation of a Class B MDC, at a minimum Class B MDC operators only need a valid state-issued identification with a Class B MDC endorsement.  So people who cannot obtain a license because of age or revocation/suspension may obtain an endorsement by passing a test similar to that given to one seeking a driver’s license for the first time.  Anyone 15 years of age or older may operate a Class B MDC if he or she meets the registration and credential requirements.
There are numerous reasons people may choose to operate a MDC, and for many people such vehicles are the only option for personal transportation.  By creating new restrictions and requirements for MDCs, Indiana has imposed more responsibility on MDC operators than ever before.  This means, among other things, that MDC operators are subject to the rules of the road like any other driver.  Violations of traffic laws or registration and insurance requirements can have consequences similar to those one operating a passenger vehicle would incur.  Thus, it will not be unusual for MDC operators to be subject to traffic stops and citations.
If you or anyone you know has been cited for operating a MDC in Indiana, the Indianapolis traffic attorneys at Banks & Brower, LLC may be able to help.  We’ve assisted many people with traffic-related issues, and we are available to answer your questions anytime at 317-870-0019 or info@banksbrower.com.