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Every state has different traffic laws. Missouri residents who own and use mopeds should understand the state’s laws as they pertain to these vehicles. “Mopeds” are single-rider motorized bikes and Missouri applies the definition of motorized bikes to mopeds; a vehicle qualifies as a moped in Missouri if it is a single-rider vehicle with two or three wheels, has an engine no larger than 50 cubic centimeters, and a maximum speed no higher than 30 mph on flat ground.
As long as a moped meets the aforementioned criteria, a rider does not need to title or register the vehicle. He or she only requires a valid driver’s license to operate the moped in Missouri. Minimum age for a driver’s license in Missouri is 16, and the state does not require registration for mopeds. However, if the vehicle’s engine is larger than 50 cubic centimeters, has a top speed greater than 30 mph on flat ground, a manual transmission, or has a motor that produces more than four brake horsepower, the vehicle qualifies as a motorcycle and the operator faces more stringent riding requirements.
Missouri law also restricts moped use on the federal interstate highway system; all moped users must avoid highways and remain on streets with speed limits no greater than 35 mph to ensure they do not interrupt the flow of traffic. In most jurisdictions, moped riders will need to remain in the street or within bike lanes; very few jurisdictions permit moped use on sidewalks and operating a moped on a sidewalk could very easily lead to serious injuries to a pedestrian or to drivers in a car accident. When moped users ride in the street, they must abide by all traffic laws as they apply to other motor vehicle operators.
Missouri also upholds specific laws pertaining to moped use in the evening and nighttime hours. If you plan to ride a moped between the hours of one-half hour before sunset to one half hour before sunrise, you must wear a headlamp and have reflectors on your moped on the rear, sides, and pedals.
All Missouri moped users should keep the state’s laws in mind at all times. There are a few best practices all moped riders should know to increase safety on mopeds and limit the risk of serious accidents and injuries.
Missouri state law does not require moped users to wear helmets, but some local jurisdictions may enforce helmet laws. Despite any legal requirements to wear helmets, all riders benefit from wearing appropriately fitted helmets while using mopeds. A proper helmet can significantly reduce the risk of a traumatic brain injury or fatal head injury.
Just because state law allows you to ride your moped in the road does not mean this is the best idea. Try to use bike lanes wherever possible and move with the flow of traffic. Defensive driving means abiding by posted speed limit signs and traffic signals, keeping to the right whenever possible, signaling for lane changes and turns, and avoiding aggressive drivers.
Mopeds afford virtually no protection to their operators in accidents. Driving defensively and abiding by the traffic laws are the best ways to avoid serious accidents.
Mopeds are fun vehicles that may help you get around a little quicker without the hassle of a car, but they are inherently dangerous, even at low speeds. Missouri residents who use mopeds must check their local jurisdictions for any local ordinances or laws that extend beyond the scope of Missouri’s state-level laws for motorized bikes and scooters. If you or a loved one recently suffered injuries from a moped accident in Missouri, reach out to a reliable personal injury lawyer in Kansas City to determine your options for legal recourse.