Moped - Individual Countries/regions

Individual Countries/regions

/ Region
Regulations and variations, overlap with other powered two-wheelers
Australia In the state of Queensland, small scooters of less than 50 cc (3.1 cu in) are able to be ridden with a car license, and are restricted to 50 km/h (31 mph). Mopeds that do not meet Australian design specifications are not allowed on public roads, with the exception of electric bicycles equipped with a meagre electrical power-source (combustion engines cannot be used) of just 200 W (0.27 PS; 0.27 bhp). So called "monkey-bikes" were quickly made illegal as they gained huge popularity. Anything resembling an EU moped will need registration and an adult driver with a motorcycle license.

Mopeds in Australia have to be ADR approved in order to be ridden on Australian roads. All requirements are listed in the consumer affairs website.

Austria In Austria, a moped is defined as a motorized bicycle with at most 50 cc (3.1 cu in) and a maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), which is close to the speed limit within towns (50 km/h (31 mph)). Since September 2009, drivers of mopeds have to be at least 15 years of age and in possession of a moped pass or a regular driver's license.
Brazil In Brazil, the definition of moped and the regulations regarding its use has been varying throughout the years. From 1985 to 1997, a moped was defined as human propulsion vehicle aided by an engine displacing less than 50 cc (3.1 cu in), no more than 3.0 hp (2.2 kW; 3.0 PS), having a maximum speed of no more than 50 km/h (31 mph) and having pedals similar to those found in a bicycle. No license was required.

From 1997 onwards, the legal definition of moped changed to "a two- or three-wheeled vehicle having an internal combustion engine with displacement inferior to 50 cc (3.1 cu in) and maximum factory speed of less than 50 km/h (31 mph)". The 1997 New Code of Transit also stated that any person aged 14 or older could ride a moped provided that person could read and be physically able. However, in 1998 the minimum age limit was changed to 18 years, since Brazilian Law does not allow minors to be criminally responsible, which contradicts the 1997 New Code of Transit, that states that being a criminally responsible is a requirement to be able to get a license.

Canada In Canada the moped has been repealed from the Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations. Nevertheless the vehicle itself is still legislated within various provinces.

In Alberta, mopeds up to 49 cc (3.0 cu in) and over 55 kg (121 lb) used to require a class 6 motorcycle license. If they are between 35 kg (77 lb) and 55 kg, a class 7 is required. In addition to this, they must not have a driver-operated transmission. They are allowed to carry more than one person. Mopeds are subject to all of the same traffic laws as other vehicles, and all riders must wear helmets.

Regulations have changed as of July 1, 2009, no longer a weight restriction and speed has increased to 70 km/h.

In British Columbia, mopeds (limited-speed motorcycles) and motor assisted cycles (MAC) have separate and distinct classifications and requirements. The following criteria apply to a moped (limited speed motorcycle):

Definition of a limited-speed motorcycle:

  • no more than 50 cc (3.1 cu in) engine displacement or 1.5 kilowatts (2.04 PS; 2.01 bhp) motor rating
  • does not require clutching or shifting after the drive system is engaged
  • has a maximum speed on level ground of 70 km/h (43 mph)
  • weighs no more than 95 kilograms (209 lb) excluding fuel and batteries
  • wheels must be 25.4 cm (10.0 in) in diameter or more

Requirements for operation of a moped (limited speed motorcycle):

  • the vehicle must be registered, licensed and insured for road use
  • the operator must have a driver's license (any class)
  • the operator must wear a helmet

In Ontario, "a moped is a motor-assisted bicycle fitted with pedals that can be operated at all times and has a maximum speed of 50 km/h (31 mph)". A motor assisted bicycle is a bicycle:

(a) that is fitted with pedals that are operable at all times to propel the bicycle,
(b) that weighs not more than 55 kg (121 lb),
(c) that has no hand or foot operated clutch or gearbox driven by the motor and transferring power to the driven wheel,
(d) that has an attached motor driven by electricity or having a piston displacement of not more than 50 cubic centimetres (3.1 cu in), and
(e) that does not have sufficient power to enable the bicycle to attain a speed greater than 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph) on level ground within a distance of 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from a standing start; ("cyclomoteur")

Since 28 November 2005, moped drivers are required to have either a full M license or a restricted class M license to legally ride on roads in Ontario. Prior to that date riders only required a G license. The G license is a "general" license for automobile drivers such as cars, small vans and trucks.

Denmark Mopeds in Denmark are divided into "small mopeds" and "big mopeds", 'small' mopeds have a speed limit of 30 km/h (19 mph), and 'big' mopeds have one on 45 km/h (28 mph). Between 16 and 18 years of age, a moped driving license is required to drive the small moped. A car driver's or motorcycle license is needed and the driver must be at least 18 years old to drive a big one. All new mopeds (both types) bought after 1 June 2006 must be registered with a license plate, and have insurance. The older models are not required to have a license plate. All mopeds must now have insurance in Denmark.
European Union The drivers license category for mopeds across the E.U. now is the AM driver's license. This license is for scooters and mopeds with no more than 50 cc (3.1 cu in), and a maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). E.U. member countries that have not fully implemented the E.U. directive that refers to the moped and other drivers license categories must do so in the next few years, 2013 at the latest. Many member states have already done so.

The "E.U. moped", scooter, moped, or any other type of vehicle that fits into this category, two, three or four wheels, a maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) and obligatory license plate as proof of insurance. Many E.U. countries only require special insurer issued plates, not state issued plates.

Finland Mopeds can be driven with an M-class driving license, which can be obtained at the age of 15. People born before 1985 can drive a moped without a license. The power of an internal combustion engine moped is not limited, but the speed limit is 45 km/h (28 mph), and engine capacity can be a maximum of 50 cc (3.1 cu in) (with electric motor, maximum power is restricted to 4.0 kilowatts (5.4 PS; 5.4 bhp)). Mopeds are allowed to carry one passenger with the driver if the moped is registered as having two seats. Both driver and passenger are required to wear helmets. After Finland joined the European Union, EU regulations increased the maximum weight of moped and speed limit was increased from 40 to 45 km/h (25 to 28 mph). In Finland, like in all EU countries, it is illegal to drive a moped without a homologated safety helmet.
Germany German law has two categories for mopeds. The first and slower category is the so-called Mofa, with a maximum design speed of no more than 25 km/h (16 mph) and only the driver is allowed on the bike, no passenger. Minimum age is 15 and no license is required, but a written test has to be completed.

The second category is the Moped, with a maximum design speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), mimimum age is 16, a drivers license is required, one passenger is allowed if the moped or scooter is certified for a passenger.

Both types need an insurer issued license plate, which is much smaller than regular state issued plates, which have to be renewed every 12 months, changing the color of the plates every year. Since a 16-year-old can now drive a 125 cc (7.6 cu in) (80 km/h (50 mph)) bike, and scooters in the "moped" category allow for transporting a passenger comfortably, mopeds, since they have less power, appeal, and space, have almost disappeared as a result of the new E.U. laws. Most teens that don't have the money for the costly A1 driver's license (1st step towards the full motorcycle license), which allows them to drive a 125 cc (7.6 cu in) (80 km/h (50 mph)) scooter or motorcycle, go for the less expensive AM driver's license, which allows them to drive a moped or scooter with a maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), but less than 1% chose a moped over a scooter based bike. Modern scooter design and amenities have effectively changed how teens chose their first set of wheels in Germany.

Greece Mopeds are usually powered by small two- or four-stroke engines, ranging from 50 to 125 cc (3.1 to 7.6 cu in). They are very popular among young people due to their low price and maintenance cost, and are widely used by all age groups, usually 13 and up. The most known "duckling" was the 1980s Honda 50 cc moped, which is still in use today. (Use of these mopeds requires a license and exams passed before attaining the license.)
Hungary For a vehicle to fit within this category it has to be powered with a 50 cc (3.1 cu in) motor, and can only have a maximum designed speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). It can have 2, 3 or 4 wheels, if the vehicle has a covered passenger area such as a moped car, e.g.: (The Aixam micro car) wearing a motorcycle helmet is optional, otherwise it is mandatory, and the failure to wear one can be fined by the police. To drive a moped one needs to obtain a M ("moped") type European license, which one can get over the age of 14. Because mopeds are inexpensive compared to other forms of motorized transport, and the running expenses are low (the third-party insurance is only 2000 Ft-12 $- 8 €), and since they can be driven after obtaining inexpensive moped license, or "B" type car driver's licence, they have become quite popular in larger cities. Vehicles registered as mopeds cannot carry passengers (even if they have space for one) and they cannot use highways (however they can use bicycle roads at a limited speed of 20 km/h (12 mph)). Their maximum allowed speed on any road is 40 km/h (25 mph). You do not need to have a licence plate, but it is mandatory to have insurance paid (and proven by a yearly sticker plus the insurance papers must be carried along) to go on common roads.
Indonesia Mopeds are not allowed to be used on Indonesian tollways.
Ireland A moped is defined as being mechanically propelled "bicycle" fitted with an engine having a capacity less 50 cc and a maximum design speed no more than 45 km/h. By contrast, a motorcycle is defined in the same way, except that it has an engine larger than 50 cc or a top speed in excess of 45 km/h. The license category for a moped is "M". The minimum age to obtain a provisional (learner) or full license is 16, the same as for a class A1 (125 cc/11 kW) motorcycle. Holders of car, truck or bus licenses granted before 21 October 2006 have an automatic entitlement to a full moped license without taking a test. As with category A (unrestricted) and A1 motorcycles, a provisional license holder may not carry a passenger.
Italy Mopeds aren't allowed on highways. Required age is 14, but a specific license ("patentino") is required. Owners of car or bike licenses may drive them freely. Registration (with plate) and insurance are mandatory. The law dictates all mopeds be restricted to 45 km/h (28 mph), but this is largely ignored and it's common for dealerships to sell them unrestricted if asked beforehand; this is not tolerated by the authorities. The new law increases penalties up to € 1338,59. Helmets are mandatory. Since 2006, a passenger may be carried on suitably built (dual seat) and registered mopeds. The driver must be over 18 years. Mopeds registered before this date that satisfy the technical and legal requirements may be re-registered (a new plate is issued) and used to carry a passenger.
Japan Motorcycles with up to 50 cc (3.1 cu in) petrol engines or 0.6 kW (0.82 PS; 0.80 bhp) rated power generators are classified "gendoukitsuki-jitensha" (Motorized bicycle). The drivers must be older than 16, get the driving license, register the vehicles and wear helmets. Car driving license holders also can drive them. The legally maximum speed is 30 km/h (19 mph).
Malaysia In Malaysia and some other Southeast Asian countries, small motorcycles are classified differently, most of the machines known as mopeds in the West (e.g. Honda Super Cub) are known as underbones (kapchai in Malaysia). These are the machines elsewhere known as scooters or sometimes "step-throughs". Kapchais have engines up to 150 cc (9.2 cu in), can reach speeds of 120–130 km/h (75–81 mph), and are used on public roads and expressways.
New Zealand New Zealand - Mopeds can be driven with any class of driver license. Mopeds are classified as having an engine capacity not exceeding 50 cc (3.1 cu in) and a maximum speed not exceeding 50 km/h (31 mph). Electric mopeds must have a motor between 0.6 to 2 kilowatts (0.82 to 2.72 PS; 0.80 to 2.68 bhp). Mopeds do not require safety testing (known as a Warrant of Fitness in NZ) and are subject to lower licensing costs than motorcycles, though one still needs the right equipment (Helmet etc.). But the rider must license the moped (get plates etc.).
Norway All motorcycles having less than 50 cc (3.1 cu in) (and some "Mopedcars") are limited to 45 km/h (28 mph) in Norway. All two-wheeled vehicles with more than 50 cc are considered motorcycles. You need to be 16 years old and have a license (expensive) to drive one. Mopeds have only a 25% VAT and are therefore fairly cheap. 16 year olds can also drive 125cc bikes, and the license is only slightly more expensive than a moped license. But the 125cc bikes/scooters get a tax of about 1000-1200 Euros AND 25% VAT on top of that. Hence they cost 2-3 times as much as a moped.

Mopeds in Norway used to go at least 50km/h (usually 55-65km/h) before adaptation of EU regulations. With the 45km/h speed limit tuning the engines are common. You can have a passenger on if they are under 10 years old.

Philippines Many underbones, especially the Honda XRM and Honda Bravo, are modified, some are "pimped out" with stereo systems and neon lights, while others are tuned, even stripped to their frames, for illegal street racing. Others, however, are modified for aesthetics (ranging from only the bodywork to extensive modification, often to resemble a full superbike), or sometimes for usage as a transport capable vehicle (usually by the addition of a custom made side wagon). A moped (as any light motorcycle) is free to use but still requires a drivers license. However, mopeds and light motorcycles are not allowed to be used on the Manila highway or skyway system.
Portugal In Portugal, a moped is a two- or three-wheel motor vehicle with an engine of 50 cc (3.1 cu in) or less, or having an engine with more than 50 cc but with a maximum speed of no more than 45 km/h (28 mph). Class M (moped) license is required to drive such vehicles. This license can be obtained with a minimum age of 14.

The moped is legally defined as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with engine displacement of no more than 50 cc (3.1 cu in) and maximum speed of no more than 50 km/h (31 mph). Such vehicles require no licensing. Pillion passengers are not allowed.

Spain Mopeds are not allowed on highways. Helmets are mandatory. In Spain a moped is defined as a two- or three-wheeled motor vehicle with an engine of 50 cc (3.1 cu in) or less with a maximum speed of no more than 45 km/h (28 mph). The license needed for driving a moped is the 'AM' or Permiso de Conducir AM, which can be obtained at the age of 15 years. The driver is not allowed to transport passengers on the rear seat until 18 years of age.
South Africa In South Africa a moped is defined as a scooter with a 50 cc (3.1 cu in) engine with a maximum speed of no more than 45 km/h (28 mph). There is no license needed for driving a moped and you can ride from the age of 16 years. The driver is not allowed to transport passengers on the rear seat until 18 years of age.
Sweden Mopeds are available in two classes. Class 1 mopeds - also known as EU mopeds, as they were introduced to comply with European Union rules - are designed for a maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) powered by an engine of 50 cc (3.1 cu in) or, if it has an electric motor, has a maximum power of 4.0 kW (5.44 PS; 5.36 bhp). A driver's license type A (motorcycle) or B (car), a driving license for tractor or a class 1 moped license (type AM, minimum age 15) is required to ride a class 1 moped. In traffic class 1 mopeds are regarded as motorcycles - but may not be driven on motorways or expressways - and has to be registered and have a license plate. They are however tax free. Class 2 mopeds are designed for a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph) and has an engine with maximum 1.0 kW (1.36 PS; 1.34 bhp). No license is required, but the driver has to be at least 15 years old, have passed a theory test and wear a helmet. In traffic they are regarded as bicycles, and are allowed in the same places, unless signs explicitly forbid them. Mopeds registered before 17 June 2003, are called legacy mopeds, and are subject to the same rules as class 2 mopeds, but may have a top speed of 30 km/h (19 mph).
Switzerland A moped is considered to be a two-wheeled vehicle that has pedals, a motor which is less than 50 cc (3.1 cu in) and a top speed of 30 km/h (19 mph). The moped must be registered, and must have a number plate with a sticker for that year indicating that the vehicle is road taxed and insured. Insurance is handled by the government. These vehicle are regarded bicycles in traffic and are therefore not allowed on motorways. To drive this vehicle, one must have a Category M license (which comes with every car and motorbike license) as well as a motorcycle helmet. A Category M license is obtainable at the age of 14. At the age of 16, one can obtain an A1 license to drive a 50 cc motorcycle which does not conform to the 30 km/h (19 mph) limit and therefore is not regarded as a bicycle anymore.
Thailand The regulation of motorcycles in the city is different from the regulation for home use. Motorcycles in the city require payment of road tax and must have a valid license plate number. However, for home use, a motorcycle might not need to register and the motorcycle will only be able to be used in farms or a small town. Wearing a helmet is a must when riding on a major road and in the city. There is a maximum limit of one pillion riders on the bikes.
United Kingdom The term moped describes any low-powered motor driven cycle with an engine capacity not greater than 50 cc (3.1 cu in) and a maximum design speed of no more than 50 km/h (31 mph). Machines registered prior to 1 September 1977 as mopeds had to have pedals, but engine power was unrestricted, and many could top 50 mph (80 km/h) (most famously the Yamaha FS1-E or "Fizzy").

A provisional license, full motorcycle or car license is needed to operate a moped. An additional Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) certificate is also required to ride a moped on public roads, except for anyone who obtained their full car driving license before 1 February 2001. A provisional moped license may be obtained at the age of 16, whereas standard car and motorcycles licenses are only available at the age of 17. Provisional licenses require learner plates and expire after two years if the license holder has not passed a test, however it can be extended another two years by retaking the CBT. Mopeds are subject to all of the same traffic laws as other vehicles. All motorized cycles, motorcycles and mopeds under 50 cc are excluded from using UK motorways.

United States

Prior to the 1970s, use of mopeds in the United States was relatively rare due to legal restrictions on the devices in many states. In 1972, Serge Seguin, after writing a masters thesis on the European moped, received two mopeds and a small amount of money from the French company Motobécane to promote the vehicle. After lobbying Congress on its fuel efficiency benefits, Seguin was able to get more than 30 states to devise a specific vehicle classification for mopeds. Produced by U.S. manufacturers such as American Machine and Foundry (AMF), mopeds had very small engines and often could not exceed 30 mph (48 km/h). What they could do, however, was run for up to 220 miles (350 km) on one tank of fuel. Because of the problems caused by the 1970s energy crisis, mopeds quickly became popular, with more than 250,000 people in the United States owning one in 1977. However, as gasoline prices eventually moved down and automobile companies devised more efficient cars, the moped's popularity began to fade.

Legal terms and definitions of low-powered cycles vary from state to state and may include "moped", "motorcycle", "motorized bicycle", "motorscooter", "scooter", "goped", "motor-driven cycle", and others. A moped's speed generally may not exceed 30 mph (48 km/h) on level ground, even if it is capable of going faster. In a few states this number is 20 or 25 mph (32 or 40 km/h), and in most states, the maximum engine capacity is 50 cc (3.1 cu in). However, Kansas ("Motorized Bicycle" K.S.A. 8-126, 8-1439a) allows up to 130 cc (7.9 cu in). Some states (including California) require pedals, while others do not. Virginia allows mopeds to operate at up to 35 mph (56 km/h). Some states (e.g. North Carolina) require there to be no external gear-shifting mechanism and that users be 13 years or older to operate and drive with a helmet (depending on the model).

Vietnam Parts of Vietnam (e.g. the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) are amongst the last places in the world where two-wheeled personal transport is more important than four-wheeled transport. Mopeds, underbones/scooters and motorcycles are everywhere, partly due to the narrow nature of many of the sidestreets and alleys.

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