By Lesley Weidenbener
INDIANAPOLIS – Thousands of Hoosiers who drive scooters and mopeds will face new restrictions and requirements starting Jan. 1 and state officials say licenses branches will be ready to accommodate them.
The law requires moped drivers to be at least 15 years old. And it means those who don’t have a driver’s license – whether because they’re too young or lost it after a drunken driving arrest – will need to take a test to become legal.
Approved by the General Assembly earlier this year, the law also creates two categories of so-called motor driven cycles.
Class B includes most scooters and mopeds and is defined as those cycles with cylinder capacities that don’t exceed 50 cubic centimeters. Essentially, these are motorbikes that can go no faster than roughly 30 miles per hour.
Bikes with larger cylinder capacities are more like motorcycles and are categorized as Class A. Those drivers will face most of the same restrictions and requirements that the owners of motorcycles do now.
Officials from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles said Wednesday they expect the vast majority of new registrations to fall into the Class B category. Here are six questions and answers about how the new law affects those less powerful motorized bikes:
Question: Who can drive a moped or scooter?
Answer: Anyone who is at least 15 years old and has one of the following: A valid driver’s license, a valid driver’s permit or an unexpired state identification card with a motor driven cycle endorsement. DUI arrests do not prevent someone from using a scooter.
Q: How do I get motor driven cycle endorsement?
A: Go to your local license branch. If you don’t have a valid license or learner’s permit, you must pass a 25-question written test that will focus primarily on road signs and signals. If you pass, you’ll walk out of the branch with a temporary credential allowing you to drive your scooter or moped.
The endorsement will cost $10.50 – unless you meet the qualifications for a free ID card.
Q: Where can I ride my scooter – and how fast?
A: You can ride on public streets and roadways but not on interstates or sidewalks. You can drive up to 35 miles per hour, although you can’t exceed the maximum posted speed in the area.
Q: Are there other restrictions?
A: Yes. You’ll need a helmet if you’re younger than 18. You must use your headlamps at all times and must remain correctly seated on the bike. You’re also required to stay on the right side of the road unless you’re passing another vehicle or preparing for a left turn.
Passengers are not allowed and you can’t carry a package in your hands.
Q: Do I have to register my moped or scooter?
A: Yes. At the license branch, you’ll need to prove your ownership of the motorized bike with one of the following: A certificate of title, manufacturer’s certificate of origin, a bill of sale, or an ownership affidavit.
The registration fee is $26.35 and the excise tax is $10.
Q: Do I need insurance?
A: No. Not for the less powerful or Class B motor driven cycles.