House Transportation Committee's Special Subcommittee on Mopeds and
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.
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).
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mopeds and scooters by persons whose driver's licenses have been revoked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
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.
the November meeting of the subcommittee will be posted on the General
Assembly website when available.
The Hon. Charles
W. Carrico, Jr.
Alan Wambold and