"They are oftentimes flying down the paths at 30-plus mph without pedaling," Jason continued. "I have noticed several from a local rental company downtown. Are these actually legal on sidewalks and 'bike' paths since they are technically a motorized vehicle? If not, why are the laws never enforced?"
Mo-ped operators must follow the same traffic rules as other motor vehicle operators, said Sgt. Steve Austin of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department's Traffic Services Division.
As a refresher, here is how state law defines a mo-ped: a motor vehicle with two or three wheels, has an engine that does not exceed 100-cc piston displacement, does not have a gearshift, and has a top speed of 30 mph or less on a level surface.
“Currently, scooter operators probably have no choice but to confine their scooter riding to private property,” Austin said. “Scooters fit within the definition of a mo-ped, therefore they must meet the legal criteria for a mo-ped. However, most scooters fail to meet the criteria because they are not designed with seats, lights or horns.”
Should you purchase a scooter that does not meet all of the legal requirements of a mo-ped, Austin says you cannot operate that vehicle on a public street or sidewalk. Failure to obey these laws will subject you to traffic violations (misdemeanor and civil infractions) and impoundment of the scooter by a law enforcement officer.
“Basically, if you ride a legally equipped and registered mo-ped, you must ride on the right edge of the roadway,” Austin said.
By state law, sidewalks and multi-use paths are off-limits for motorized vehicles, including mo-peds and scooters, and all other scooter-type vehicles must be used only on private property, Austin said.
To clarify an answer to a previous Mailbag question about mo-ped riding (“Side-by-side mo-peds,” July 25), the reader was really asking if it’s lawful for two people to ride on a mo-ped at the same time. It is not.
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