Security and Safety

Joining the Moped Craze? Check Texas Moped Laws

By Peter Simek 10.14.19

So, you’ve just watched Roman Holiday, and you want to see if there’s a way to live the dream of scooting around a fantastic European city on a chic 1960s-style moped right here in Texas. Well, you’re not alone.

Over the past decade, mopeds have become increasingly popular in Texas, particular in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. More urban Texans than ever are discovering that Vespas offer just the right amount of extra mobility to navigate city streets efficiently and stylishly — not to mention low gas costs. But just because Europeans make scooting around look so easy doesn’t mean there aren’t important things to take into consideration before hitting the streets.

Here are the Texas moped laws you should know.

What Is a Moped?

People call them mopeds, scooters, Vespas, and other names, but according to Texan law, they are all “mopeds.” In Texas, mopeds are a special category of vehicle. In order to qualify as a moped, the vehicle must not go over 30 miles per hour, must not require gear shifting, and must not have piston displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters (ccs). This is a pretty low bar. Most of the vehicles on the street that look like scooters and mopeds exceed these speed and power criteria, which means, as far as the state of Texas is concerned, they are actually motorcycles.

How to Make Your Moped Street-Legal

If your vehicle does qualify as a moped, it will be a little easier to hit the streets. It needs to be registered with the state as a “certified moped.” Once that is completed, you still need to get a qualified M Class (motorcycle) license in order to drive and to obtain motorcycle insurance. You must be 15 years or older and pass a written test in order to get a M Class license, but you will not need to take the motorcycle-skills test required for motorcycle drivers. Mopeds must also be registered, have a clear title, and pass annual safety inspections.

How to Stay Street-Safe

There are some other basic rules. Helmets are required for riders under age 21. Mopeds must have a working headlight and breaks, and when driving, you should stay to the right of the road to allow faster traffic to pass. If the vehicle is not a certified moped — meaning it goes over 30 mph or has an engine power of 51 cc or more — then you will have to have a M Class license, motorcycle insurance, and follow all of the rules of the road that motorcycles must follow.

Find more rules of the road for different vehicles here.

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