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New laws affect moped and scooter owners


A moped parked in front of McComas Hall. Moped and scooter owners can avoid ticketing by purchasing proper parking passes for their vehicles. Parking at a bike rack, like this moped just outside McComas Hall, is prohibited.

BLACKSBURG, Va., July 24, 2013 – The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ new law could affect on campus parking for moped and scooter owners. The law went into effect July 1, 2013.

Virginia Law now requires moped drivers to carry a government-issued ID and wear a helmet. If a moped has no windshield the driver must wear safety glasses or goggles. In addition, moped owners who plan to operate their vehicles on Virginia roadways will be required to title and register their vehicles by July 1, 2014.

How might it affect the Virginia Tech community? In addition to the new rules required by the Virginia law, owners of non-conventional vehicles such as mopeds or scooters will be required to purchase parking permits to park on campus.

The decision to change moped laws came after the General Assembly requested that the DMV have an ongoing work group study many varieties of non-conventional vehicles.

The study found that as a result of rising gas prices and the affordability and availability of mopeds, the number of these vehicles on Virginia roads has significantly increased. Because the number of mopeds has grown and continues to grow, many have expressed concerns regarding proper usage of mopeds, their road safety, and current laws on operating mopeds on public roadways. These concerns have led to the new laws, which were designed to ensure safety and aid in the identification and locating of mopeds and their drivers after a crash or theft.

With no past requirements to register these non-conventional vehicles the DMV is unsure of how many people this law will directly effect.

So far the change has been well received. Sunni Brown, DMV public relations and media liaison, said the DMV has not been made aware of any negative feedback from the moped community. Much of the DMV research was harvested from stakeholders such as moped dealership owners who were part of the work group that conducted the study.

The Division of Student Affairs at Virginia Tech encompasses departments dedicated to providing a rich co-curricular experience and essential student services. Virtually every aspect of a student's life outside the classroom is represented through the division's departments.

Written by Blair McGee of Virginia Beach, Va., a senior majoring in communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

What exactly constitutes a moped?

  • Virginia Code section 46.2-100 defines a moped as a vehicle that travels on three wheels or less, has a seat that is no less than 24 inches in height, measured from the ground to the middle of the seat, and has a gasoline, electric, or hybrid motor that displaces less than 50 cubic centimeters.
  • Power-assisted vehicles operated 25 mph or less on Virginia roadways with a speed limit of 25 mph or less are exempt from the above requirements; however, if a power-assisted vehicle is operated in excess of 25 mph, it is considered a moped and the owner would be required to register and comply with all applicable laws.
  • “If a moped is operated in excess of 35 mph it is considered a motorcycle,” said Brown. “The owner would be required to comply with all vehicle registration, insurance and inspection requirements, and driver-licensing laws.”
  • What the DMV refers to as a “moped” is the same thing the university calls a “scooter”. On Virginia Tech’s campus scooters are classified with motorcycles and therefore must use a parking pass for on campus parking.
  • Owners should check their mopeds to see how their vehicles measure up to the DMV’s definition and ensure they have the proper parking permits for the new school year.
  • If moped and scooter owners are unsure of their vehicle’s status they can visit the DMV website and contact Virginia Tech Parking Services.

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