Moped Laws in Colorado

Mopeds

An increasingly popular way to explore Colorado’s vibrant cities is on a moped. Mopeds provide an economical and eco-friendly mode of transportation, allowing riders to experience the beauty of Colorado without the added effort of, say, cycling or hiking. They’re also a convenient and efficient way to commute within the city. But before you hop on a moped, make sure you are versed in Colorado’s laws regarding these vehicles. Knowing the rules and regulations for mopeds will help keep you and others safe on the road.

What is a Moped?

First, it is important to understand what, exactly, constitutes a “moped.” In Colorado, a moped is classified a “low power scooter.” Low power scooters (LPS) are self-propelled vehicles with no more than three wheels and no manual clutch. They must also meet the following speed and engine requirements:

  1. Gas-powered LPS’s must have a cylinder capacity of 50 cc or less.
  2. Electric LPS’s must not exceed 4,476 watts.
  3. Speed capabilities must max out at 30 mph.

The name “moped” is a reference to the original design of the vehicle, which was simply a motorized bicycle (i.e. motorized pedal vehicle). Today’s mopeds do not necessarily have pedals but, rather, a step-through frame that serves as a footrest while driving. 

Do You Need a Special Moped License?

You do not need a special license to operate a moped in Colorado. However, you must have a valid driver’s license or minor driver’s license. 

Additional Moped Laws

Registration and Insurance

Moped riders in Colorado must register their vehicles every three years. They must present proof of current insurance for the moped, or a certificate of self-insurance in full force in order to complete the registration. You do not need a license plate, but you will be given a new decal that should be displayed prominently on the body of your moped.

Helmet Requirements

Only riders under the age of 18 are required to wear a DOT-approved helmet while operating a moped. Although not mandatory for riders over 18, wearing a helmet is strongly recommended for safety. 

Traffic Laws

Moped riders are subject to most of the same traffic laws and regulations that apply to bicycles and motor vehicles. This includes: 

  • Following all traffic signals
  • Yielding to pedestrians
  • Going with the flow of traffic
  • Adhering to speed limits
  • Stopping at stop signs*
  • Stopping at red lights

*Note that mopeds are not permitted to roll through stop signs or treat red lights as a stop sign, as bicycles and E-bikes are now permitted to do in Colorado. Lane splitting is also prohibited.

Riding on Roads

Mopeds are designed for use on inner-city roadways only. They are not permitted on interstate highways for practical and safety reasons (they do not go faster than 30 mph, which represents an obstruction to the flow of highway traffic). 

Moped drivers are permitted to ride two abreast when on a roadway. 

Bicycle Lanes and Paths

In general, moped drivers in Colorado can use bicycle lanes and paths. We recommend researching local regulations, however, as this rule can vary depending on the jurisdiction.

Lights and Signals

In order to legally drive on public roadways, mopeds must be equipped with certain safety features (see Colorado revised statute 42.4.220). These include:

  • At least one headlamp visible from at least 500 feet
  • A rear reflector visible from at least 300 feet OR a rear lamp visible from at least 500 feet
  • A bell or other device that is audible from a distance of 100 feet (sirens and whistles are not permitted).
  • A brake that allows the moped to skid when applied on a flat, dry surface.

Passenger Restrictions

You may drive with one passenger so long as your moped is equipped to accommodate another rider. Make sure they are sitting behind you with both feet facing forward, never side-saddle or backwards. 

Alcohol and Drugs

Moped drivers are subject to the same rules and regulations as other drivers regarding driving while intoxicated. Driving under the influence is illegal and can result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time. 

Moped Accidents

Like cyclists, moped riders are at an increased risk of injury if they are involved in an accident. Unlike a car, there is no metal framework, seatbelt, or air bag to act as protection. A crash with a larger vehicle can have catastrophic consequences. Likewise, being thrown from the moped due to an unforeseen hazard can cause serious injuries. 

In some cases, your accident may be caused due to the negligence of another. For example:

  • Poorly maintained roadways
  • Other driver negligence
  • Poor signage 
  • Hazardous materials or debris
  • Manufacturing defect or mechanical failure

In these instances, you will want to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can. He or she will help you seek fair compensation for your injuries, including emotional damages, while you recover. 

If you have been involved in a moped accident in Colorado, contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Even if you were partially at fault, comparative negligence laws in the state may still allow you to seek compensation. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.