Having a Fuzion scooter is great if you want to do tricks at the skatepark or casually ride around the city. However, if you need to get to your office fast, you should buy a moped. Depending on the state laws, your age or if you already have a driver’s license, you will be allowed to ride your moped sooner or later. Also, there are some requirements and safety measures that you should be aware of.
If you already have a license
People with a car driving license could ride a moped without taking any tests or having to obtain a special license. Keep in mind that car-driving people must obey the same rules as moped riders. Nevertheless, a few rules are applying only to moped drivers. For example, most states do not require a title for mopeds, but they have to be registered.
So if you already have a driving license, you can just get on your moped and drive away. However, if you are under 16 years old or don’t have a driver’s license, there are some steps for you to follow.
Obtaining the learner’s permit
If you want to start learning how to ride a moped, you will have to apply for the learner’s permit and pass the theory test. In most states, to apply for a learner’s permit you need to be at least 15 years old. After paying a small tax, you will need to take a theory test made of 35 multiple choice questions about road regulations and particular moped related questions. If you get at least 28 correct answers, you pass the test.
Learning how to ride
After getting your learner’s permit, it is now time to learn how to drive your moped. Despite the fact that there’s a lot of fun involved in this step of the process, it is of great importance. Getting a good foundation on these skills will make you a safe driver.
Unlike the process of getting a driver’s license, there is no imposed minimum number of hours for you to complete to obtain a moped driving license. During these driving hours, you must be accompanied by an approved supervisor that can be your passenger or in a different vehicle.
The moped used for your driving lessons must meet the criteria for the vehicles’ class you plan on riding. You can drive a moped that is not capable of going faster than 50km/h (30mph) and its engine capacity is smaller than 50cc or is not propelled by a piston engine. Also, as a safety measure, you must wear a helmet approved by the regulation.
The hazard perception test
After you’ve completed enough supervised driving sessions and are now a safe and confident driver, you can take the hazard perception test. It is possible to take the hazard perception test (or HPT) when you are at least 16 years old and you’ve had the learner’s permit for six months.
About the HPT
During the HPT, your ability to appraise traffic hazards and to take safe driving measures will be assessed using a set of video clips of traffic situations. You are supposed to react to each of the presented situations by clicking a mouse to decide when it is safe to start a maneuver. Also, you will have to evaluate when you should take action in order to decrease the chances of a possible accident.
The test was made as accessible as possible. It does not require comprehensive computer knowledge as clear instructions will be displayed on the screen. If you are experiencing difficulties reading them, you can choose to use the provided headphones.
Furthermore, it is allowed to be assisted by an interpreter to translate the instructions for you during the introduction and the practice part. If they help you in any other way while taking the test, you will get the minimum score. You should ask for more details about it at the center before taking the test.
The Practical Driving Assessment
After getting skillful on safely driving your moped and passing the Hazard Perception Test, it is now time to pass the Practical Driving Assessment (or PDA). The PDA is used to determine your driving competence. You will have to keep the moped balanced at low speed by driving around an ‘O’ shape without touching the ground with any of your feet.
Besides parking correctly and starting on a hill, you must be able to stop with complete control without locking either wheel. Wearing an approved helmet, long trousers, closed footwear, and a fully-sleeved shirt is mandatory while taking the PDA. You should consider having gloves and eye goggles (if the helmet is without a visor).
The provisional license
After passing these tests, you will be awarded a provisional license which will allow you to ride without approved supervision. The license will expire after two years or after you turn 19 years of age and during this time you can drive only vehicles that meet the specific standards for your license.
How to display your ‘P’ plates
For the first six months after obtaining the provisional license or until you turn 19 years old, you must display on your moped the red ‘P’ Plates. These should be fixed at all times in a visible place at the back and the front of your vehicle. After six months or for the remaining period until you turn 19, you must display the green ‘P’ plates following the same set of rules.
Registering your moped
You can’t register it at the local Department of Motor Vehicles. Instead, you have to mail the application, the sale’s bill and a regular fee. After two weeks, you will receive your plates and ID card (for the moped) through the mail.
Requirements for your moped
Your moped should be as visible as possible for other drivers. To keep you safe, it should have a headlight with adjustable height (so you don’t blind other drivers), a tail light, a brake light, and a reflective element on the rear and sides. Functional brakes are a must if you want to ride your moped on public roads. Having only a rear brake is permitted by law but it is recommended to have a front brake as well. Also, braking using your shoe doesn’t count.
You should have at least one mirror. Although it can be fixed on any of the handlebars’ side, the left side is more common since you can better see vehicles coming from behind. As you know, excessively loud exhausts are illegal so your vehicle should not exceed 95 decibels.
Where you can ride your moped
When riding it on public roadways, make sure you stay on the far right side of the road. Also, if there is a bike lane, you must ride on it. It is against the law to drive your moped on a public roadway if it is not equipped with a muffler to prevent exaggerated noise. Furthermore, you are not allowed to ride it on the interstate or limited access highways.
Most of the people would believe that mopeds are safer than faster vehicles because of the lower speed. While speed-related hazards are fewer, other dangerous aspects such as not being seen by drivers are of serious concern.
In order to be noticed by other traffic participants, you should wear bright clothes and use reflective accessories. Drivers might spot the moped, perceive it as harmless and quickly forget about it. This will cause them to cut the moped off or approach it too fast as they may concentrate on the other cars. This situation is especially dangerous on high-speed roads where mopeds might not be allowed to travel.
Some of the moped owners are tuning their vehicles for greater speed, power or bigger noise than permitted. For these changes to become legal, these vehicles should be registered again as motorcycles. This includes different driving license requirements, taxes, type of insurance, and the minimum driver age limit would be higher.
A moped modified for higher speed is not as safe as a purpose-designed motorcycle. A study showed that only 10% of moped owners did not tune their vehicles for higher speeds.
Why people choose mopeds
Mopeds are preferred by a lot of people because they can be very economical as they can achieve 120mpg. Scientific research proved that mopeds having a two stroke 50 cc engine emit ten to thirty times less particulate emissions and hydrocarbons than the old Euro 3 for automobile’s standard.
Presently, a supplementary air quality issue can be caused by the increasing number of mopeds and scooters since a higher density of such motorized vehicles could be supported by the actual transportation infrastructure.
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