Insurance and Finance

Trendy Rides, Not Toys

By Paula Felps 10.22.14

With an affordable price tag, great gas mileage, and low-maintenance costs, two-wheeled scooters and mopeds are regaining their popularity. After enjoying brisk sales in the 1980s, these economical rides went the way of the Members Only jacket — until recently. Now, motorized two-wheelers are being rediscovered by a generation that was raised on the foot-propelled Razor scooter.

The difference between mopeds and scooters is that if it’s 50cc or below, it qualifies as a moped. After passing all of the required qualifications, drivers can hit the streets on a moped at age 15, a full year before they’re legally allowed alone behind the wheel of a car. If you are under the age of 18, you’ll need to have either a Class C learner’s permit or a valid Texas driver’s license and will have to pass a driver’s education course and complete a DPS-approved motorcycle safety course before being street-legal.

If you’re only going to ride mopeds, you can apply for a Class M motorcycle license with a “K” restriction. A motorcycle riding test is not required for that type of license, but a written test is still mandatory.

Scooters face stricter laws. If it’s above 50cc, requires shifting gears, or can exceed 30 miles an hour, it qualifies as a motorcycle — so you’ll need a Class M motorcycle license to drive it.

Both have similar safety considerations. Two-wheeled riders are harder for cars to see, so wear bright-colored clothing and follow these other safety tips:

  • Be aware of the cars around you in case you’re in their “blind spot”
  • Always wear a helmet
  • Be particularly careful at intersections

And, of course, make sure you meet state insurance requirements. Talk with your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent to make sure you’re properly covered.