What is the Difference Between a Scooter and a Moped?

by William Mattar | May 28th, 2021

red mopedIt is easy to see why many drivers may choose a scooter or moped over a standard motor vehicle. Scooters and mopeds are a fun and unique form of transportation. Maybe you are interested in one of these two-wheeled vehicles but are not sure how they differ. Please keep reading to learn more about scooters and mopeds and their differences.

The Differences Between Scooters and Mopeds

There are certainly similarities between scooters and mopeds, so much so that they are often confused for each other. These vehicles typically have two wheels and are both classified as limited use motorcycles. But there are also key differences between scooters and mopeds, including their speed ability and engine size. The speed ability of a limited use motorcycle may determine where you can ride the vehicle.

According to the Motorcycle Legal Foundation, motor scooters are defined as a “two-wheeled vehicle with a step-through chassis and footrest platform.” Scooters are commonly associated with the brand Vespa and have small engines ranging from 50cc to 250cc. Because of their size and lower speeds, scooters are considered easier to maneuver than most motorcycles.

According to the Motorcycle Legal Foundation, “mopeds,” derived from the word “motor-pedal,” are two-wheeled vehicles propelled by bicycle-like pedals and a low-powered engine. At engines 50cc or less (with a maximum speed of 28 mph), mopeds generally have a lower speed ability than scooters.

Requirements for Riding Scooters and Mopeds in New York

The requirements for riding a moped or scooter in New York are relatively straightforward. However, they may vary depending on the type of vehicle you choose. To operate a moped or motor scooter, you must have a valid New York driver’s license and register your vehicle.

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) categorizes mopeds and motor scooters as Class A, Class B, or Class C “limited use motorcycles” according to the range of top speeds. According to the DMV, the categories are as follows: Class A top speed is over 30-40 mph, Class B top speed is around 20-30 mph, and Class C top speed is 20 mph or less. Riders of scooters and mopeds in Class A must have a specialized license or learners permit (Class M or MJ), which will require riders to pass a driving test.

Those hoping to ride a scooter or moped in New York should also know that, by law, helmets and eye protection are required to operate Class A and B limited use motorcycles.

The Risks of Riding Scooters and Mopeds

Like motorcycles, scooters and mopeds are smaller – and sometimes quieter – than most other vehicles on the roadways. However, scooters and mopeds are often even smaller than the average motorcycle. For this reason, many drivers may not be looking out for scooter and moped riders as attentively as they should. That is why the risk of a potential accident is one of the major concerns of riding a moped or scooter.

Moped and scooter accidents can be devastating because riders are exposed to their environments. Without the protection of the body of a car or truck, riders are vulnerable to collisions and can suffer catastrophic injuries after being struck by a motor vehicle.

While poorly maintained roads are a hazard for any motorist, they can be especially dangerous for moped and scooter riders. These vehicles have two to three wheels, meaning they have less stability than a typical passenger vehicle. A pothole or speed bump can spell disaster, causing a rider to be thrown off their vehicle.

Injured in a Scooter or Moped Accident? Call William Mattar

If you’ve been injured in a scooter or moped crash, call William Mattar at (844) 444-4444 today. Our accident attorneys help injury victims get the compensation they deserve after motor vehicle accidents. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation or complete our online consultation form, and our legal team will get in touch as soon as possible.