Gabe asked: What are the laws about mopeds and how do they relate to the statutes about bicycling?
This is a re-write of a previous post. Little is changed except that all the information about motorized bicycles is included in another post. Thanks to all who commented and contributed information, but I’m afraid we lost your comments in the transition.
What a great question! At first, my first thought was, “We only do bicycles on this site,” but there is much similarity between the two. As you will see if you stick it out through this whole article, this is complicated. You should thoroughly research all statutes that might apply to a particular situation. As usual, don’t take this as legal advice.
What is a “moped”?
s. 316.003 – Definitions
(77) Moped – Any vehicle with pedals to permit propulsion by human power, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels; with a motor rated not in excess of 2 brake horsepower and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground; and with a power-drive system that functions directly or automatically without clutching or shifting gears by the operator after the system is engaged. If an internal combustion engine is used, the displacement may not exceed 50 cubic centimeters.
A moped is a vehicle.
(75) Vehicle – Every device, in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway.
The term “motor-driven cycle” is used in some of the statutes, particularly in those related to equipment requirements such as lighting equipment (s. 316.435), stop lamps (s. 316.420), reflectors (s. 316.415), taillamps (s. 316.410) and others, but is not defined. The moped is in that category.
A moped is not a bicycle or a motorized bicycle, although some of the rights and duties are similar when the moped is propelled by human power only (Discussed below).
(2) Bicycle – Every vehicle propelled solely by human power, and every motorized bicycle propelled by a combination of human power and an electric helper motor capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on level ground upon which a person may ride, having two tandem wheels, and including any device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels …. No person under the age of 16 may operate or ride upon a motorized bicycle.
A bicycle with a gas assist motor is not legal on the roads or sidewalks in Florida. See this post for information about motorized bicycles.
For the purposes of traffic law (as opposed to licensing), a moped is not a motor vehicle.
(21) Motor Vehicle – Any self-propelled vehicle …. but not including any bicycle, motorized scooter, electric personal assistive mobility device, or moped.
Other statutes differ somewhat in the definition of “motor vehicle” [s. 320.01(1)], but are consistent in their exclusion of bicycles and mopeds, except for s. 322.01, which relates to drivers’ licenses. See below.
A moped is not a motorcycle.
(27) The term “motorcycle” does not include …. a moped.
Like bicyclists, moped operators have the same rights and duties as other drivers, with few differences. In fact, the wording of this section of the statutes about mopeds is almost identical to that for bicyclists. The similar language in the Bicycle Regulations is in parentheses.
s. 316.208 – Motorcycles and Mopeds
(1) Any person operating a motorcycle or moped (propelling a vehicle by human power) shall be granted all the rights and shall be subject to all the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle under this chapter, except as to special regulations in this chapter which by their nature can have no application.
(2)(a) Any person operating a moped (bicycle) upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway except under any of the following situations:
- When overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.
- When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
- When reasonably necessary to avoid any condition, including, but not limited to, a fixed or moving object, parked or moving vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian, animal, surface hazard, or substandard-width lane, that makes it unsafe to continue along the right-hand curb or edge. For purposes of this paragraph, a “substandard-width lane” is a lane that is too narrow for a moped (bicycle) and another vehicle to travel safely side by side within the lane.
(2)(b) Any person operating a moped (bicycle) upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of the roadway as is practicable.
(3) A person operating a moped solely by human power (propelling a bicycle) upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances, except that such person shall yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.
(4) No person shall propel a moped upon and along a sidewalk while the motor is operating.
Moped operators must comply with all traffic regulations that apply to other “vehicles”, but not those applicable only to “motor vehicles”, as defined in Chapter 316. Two examples are:
s. 316.183 – Unlawful Speed
(5) No person shall drive a MOTOR VEHICLE at such a slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.
s. 316.304 – Wearing of Headsets
(1) No person shall operate a VEHICLE while wearing a headset, headphone, or other listening device ….
Mopeds must be registered and display a license tag.
s. 320.0803 – Moped License Plates
(1) Any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, registration and payment of license taxes in accordance with these requirements and for the purposes stated herein shall in no way be construed as placing any requirements upon mopeds other than the requirements of registration and payment of license fees.
Mopeds are not required to be titled, as are motor vehicles.
s. 319.20 Application of Law (Pertaining to Title Certificates)
…. The provisions of this chapter do not apply to any moped ….
Mopeds must meet certain safety standards.
s. 316.46 – Equipment Regulations for Mopeds
No person shall operate a moped that does not conform to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards relating to lights and safety and other equipment …
Although a moped is not a motor vehicle in traffic law, for the purpose of Chapter 322 – Driver’s Licenses, a moped is a motor vehicle, and a driver’s license is required.
s. 322.01 Definitions – As used in this chapter:
(27) “Motor vehicle” means any self-propelled vehicle …. excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and motorized bicycles as defined in s. 316.003
s. 322.03 – Drivers Must be Licensed; Penalties
(1) Except as otherwise authorized in this chapter, a person may not drive any motor vehicle …. unless such person has a valid driver’s license ….
There are other statutes that describe required equipment and give instructions about riding on mopeds.
s. 316.211 – Equipment for Motorcycle and Moped Riders
(4) A person under 16 years of age may not operate a moped unless the person is properly wearing protective headgear securely fastened.
s. 316.2085 – Riding on Motorcycles and Mopeds
(This statute deals with proper position when riding, carrying objects, license tags, carrying other persons, and special regulations for persons under 16 years of age.) Two of the violations in this section refer to keeping both wheels on the ground and having license plates that cannot be flipped up. Both carry severe penalties, from a fine of $1,000 for the first offense, to a fine of $5,000 and a third degree felony for the third offense. For more information, refer to s. 316.1926 and s. 318.14.