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Colorado Moped Laws

June 15, 2019

Driving is not the only way to get around Colorado. When the weather is nice, many people use mopeds as an alternative method of transportation. Mopeds are better on gas, give off fewer fuel emissions and are easier to park in metropolitan areas than vehicles. If you plan on taking a moped somewhere in Colorado, you must follow all the applicable rules of the road. Otherwise, you could end up with a traffic infraction – or worse, causing an accident.

Woman riding red moped

What Is a Moped?

Colorado law refers to mopeds as low-power scooters. The official definition of a moped in the state is a self-propelled vehicle with no more than three wheels. A moped has either a cylinder capacity that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters (if engine-powered) or wattage under 4,476 watts (if electric). A moped is a unique type of vehicle that is not in the same class as a motor vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle or motorized bicycle.

Do You Need a Special License?

To operate a moped in the state of Colorado, you must have a valid driver’s license or minor driver’s license. Unlike a motorcycle, however, you do not need a special class of license to operate a moped. A standard driver’s license will suffice. You must register your moped to operate it on public roads. It costs $5.85 to register your moped for three years in Colorado. Purchase adequate auto insurance before registering your moped.

Do You Have to Wear a Helmet?

If you are 18 or older, you do not have to wear a helmet while operating or riding on a moped in Colorado. The state does not have universal law requiring adult helmet use for any vehicle, including motorcycles. If you are 17 or younger, however, you must wear a helmet with a chinstrap that fulfills federal safety standards. You have to wear a helmet as a minor even if you are riding a moped as a passenger.

Even if Colorado law does not require you to wear a helmet, doing so is in your best interest. Many organizations, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Department of Transportation, recommend helmets as the top way to reduce the risk of serious head and brain injuries in a traffic accident. Wearing a helmet could help you avoid a fatal injury in a moped collision.

Can You Drive a Moped on the Highway?

You cannot operate a moped on any interstate in Colorado. The same is true if you are operating a motorized bicycle or electric scooter. Although mopeds follow a lot of standard traffic laws in Colorado, they do not have all the same rights to the roads as vehicles. It is against the law to take a moped on an interstate or limited-access road unless the same road permits bicycles.

Most people use mopeds on city streets and in residential neighborhoods. It is illegal to use a moped on a sidewalk. You can, however, drive a moped in a designated bicycle lane in Colorado. If you are driving a moped on the road, you must obey all traditional traffic signals and roadway rules. This includes stoplights, speed limits and rights-of-way. You must drive in the same direction as the flow of traffic.

What Happens After a Moped Accident?

If you get into a moped accident in Colorado, you may have grounds for a claim against the at-fault driver. First, identify who or what caused the crash. Then, file a claim with that party’s auto insurance company. You may claim property damages, personal injuries, medical costs, lost wages and other damages depending on the situation. The insurance company will offer a settlement if it agrees its policyholder was responsible for the crash.

You might have to hire an accident attorney in Denver if an insurance company unfairly denies your claim. A common reason for settlement denial is the comparative fault defense; the insurance company alleges you were more than half at fault for the collision, barring you from recovery. A Denver personal injury attorney could help you protect your rights and seek justice after a serious moped crash in Colorado.