Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005

House Transportation Committee's Special Subcommittee on Mopeds and Similar Vehicles

September 13, 2005

The special subcommittee held its first meeting on September 13, 2005, in Charlottesville. Staff explained that more precise definitional distinctions between motorcycles, mopeds, scooters, and other similar vehicles would be essential to any draft legislation that the subcommittee might consider recommending during the 2006 Session of the General Assembly. Copies of a first draft of amendments to § 46.2-100 aimed at achieving this result were provided to the members. The draft resulted from consultations with representatives of the DMV, the Department of Transportation, the Department of State Police, and the Virginia Chiefs of Police Association.


Virginia Motorcycle Dealers Association
Charlie Finley, Executive Director of the Virginia Motorcycle Dealers Association, explained that there was a great deal of confusion among the public as to which vehicles were not "street legal" in Virginia. He noted four recommendations contained in an earlier study of mopeds and similar vehicles conducted by the DMV: (i) educate the public about the law; (ii) replicate all applicable state statutes in local ordinances; (iii) make "warning stickers" on mopeds and similar vehicles larger, easier to read, and harder to remove; and (iv) provide a model for localities of a local moped ordinance. He urged that motorized vehicles allowed by law to operate over-the-road be subject to annual safety inspections similar to those performed on passenger cars and trucks. In general, Mr. Finley endorsed the approach regarding mopeds and similar vehicles by HB 2794 (2005, Ingram).

Local Law-Enforcement Perspective
As a group, representatives of local law- enforcement agencies recommended that state law create core requirements for operation of mopeds and scooters to which localities could add additional requirements by ordinance. Several speakers disliked that there was no statewide standard for minimum height nor wheel size requirement for vehicles intended for over-the-road operation. Others disliked the lack of serial numbers or brand names on recently available vehicles commonly known as "pocket rockets." Use of mopeds and scooters by persons whose driver's licenses have been revoked or suspended (oftentimes for drunk driving or as the result of an habitual offender adjudication) was also identified as a problem. One speaker, citing HB 2330 (2005, Rust), felt that persons under 16 convicted of traffic offenses committed while operating mopeds should be subject to additional penalties, such as delayed eligibility for learner's permits or driver's licenses.

Speakers favored the creation of a "bright line" distinction made between motorized toys and scooters-motorized toys would be regulated by local ordinance and scooters subject to some form of registration and safety inspection. One speaker suggested the banning of scooters with seats less than 20 inches high or wheels less than 20 inches in diameter. Another speaker favored that moped and scooter operators be required to carry "official" identification, be at least 16 years old, and require their vehicle to be equipped with lights and mufflers. Several speakers complained that after-market modifications of these vehicles dangerously increased operating speeds and noise. It was also suggested that operators of mopeds be required to undergo and pass a vision examination. One speaker complained that moped and scooter operators presented a danger to pedestrians and suggested that statewide minimum standards for operation of these vehicles were needed in the interest of safety.


Information regarding the November meeting of the subcommittee will be posted on the General Assembly website when available.

The Hon. Charles W. Carrico, Jr.

For information, contact:
Alan Wambold and Stephanie Bishop
DLS Staff


Division of Legislative Services > Legislative Record > 2005 

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