Massachusetts Cracks Down on “Limited Use” Scooters

The Massachusetts RMV is targeting scooterists that have registered their “Limited Use” scooters as mopeds. Many states don’t require plates for mopeds, so some dealers and scooterists exploit the confusion to register bona-fide scooters as mopeds to skirt registration fees, insurance requirements, parking restrictions, and licensing requirements. When enforcement officials aren’t clear on the laws, it just makes things worse. It’s up to you to be certain your bike is registered and titled legally and that you meet all requirements to ride safely and legally.

4 replies on “Massachusetts Cracks Down on “Limited Use” Scooters”

  1. I think you are further muddying the waters with language that clearly separates them when there is no distinction directly attached to those words. I’d change the ‘bona-fide scooters’ to ‘bona-fide limited use vehicles’.

    I like their approach to a middle ground, but their problem was that they left the definition too vague rather than enforcement to lax. There exists a class of vehicles that are essential motorized bicycles. For many years they overlapped in size and power of smaller displacement scooters so the definition worked to class both kinds of vehicles together. Now that the power of a modern scooter with the same displacement has grown, the definitions no longer fit. The problem is that in the eyes of many people many of these scooters also don’t fit so well with motorcycles. So the solution of the middle class makes sense, but it actually needs thoughtful consideration rather than a blanket speed, power certificate or displacement formula. Speed can be restricted then derestricted. Certificates can be falsified or declined to be provided by an OEM. Displacement doesn’t paint an accurate picture of the entire vehicle. Example: A kymco People S 50. It’s the size of a 1972 Buick Electra with seating room for 8 and has a displacement of 49cc. At the same time this anemic 4 stroke only propels a rider to speeds that should classify it as a moped. Does this vehicle deserve to park at a bike rack (where legal) in the true spirit of the law? It’s mass x speed will add up to far more damage to be liable for than a Puch Maxi. Or how about a Honda Elite 80 or Passport. They are not 50cc, perform nearly equivalent to a derestricted 50cc 2 stroke scooter and the size is appropriate as a space saving vehicle to be parked out of the way at bike racks and on sidewalks where it wouldn’t impede foot traffic. I think the solution is to remove the loophole of the unregistered, uninsured, unplated, moped class and just expand it’s definition upward in terms of power and speed to maybe 45 mph with included specifications on size (for example a total wheelbase/total length + handlebar height equation). Maybe an intermediate stage of testing for rider certification as well. Something between Nothing and the same license required to pilot a 350 lb death rocket or a half ton boss hoss. This solution also works in places where the unplated status does not exist.

    And it may seem like heresy, but I think a similar approach to helmets could get more people into full face head protection or just head protection at all in places where it’s not required. SNELL has a small displacement vehicle helmet designation but a helmet made to fit those specs is never made and there are people out there riding around with sports helmets instead.

  2. Oh, I meant that upward expanded class would be fully registered, plated and insured. If they are going to have a special class for smaller bikes, it shouldn’t have any loopholes.

  3. To make it simple. I explain it to customers like this;
    The State has offered us the opportunity to have your 49.5cc scooter registered, Insured and and in the system for a mere $5 more a year during renewal.
    It’s $40 every 2yrs for a moped sticker or $25 a year for a plate registration.
    First of all. this insures that In the event of a theft, the RMV will have a VIN# on file and a contact in the event of police recovery. Moped stickers aren’t documented.
    Second and as important. if in an accident your tiny insurance policy of approximately $80 yr insures that minor medical attention is covered.
    I have a customers story that I use as an example. On his “moped” He was tapped from behind in city traffic, fell, and was convinced he should take a ride 1/2 mile away to the hospital by the responding ambulance to get checked out. Having good insurance from his employer he agreed. To this day he receives a $2000 bill from the Ambulance Co since his health ins. doesn’t cover auto accidents..
    The bottom line. Ask yourself. Is it not irresponsible to ride a 40 mph vehicle on Massachusetts’ busy streets without insurance?
    MA. could simply rewrite the law like the old law as it was written in the past to say, A moped has to have pedals. That would certainly eliminate the “Players”, folk who come to my shop for repairs with their Moped sticker-ed 150cc bought from a sketchy sidewalk dealer complete with a 50cc Certificate of Origin! Hmmm?

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