Whether You Call it a Moped or a Scooter, Drivers Often Don’t See You When You Ride One

Man Driving a Moped Down the StreetIndiana calls them motor-driven cycles, and riders often refer to them alternatively as mopeds or scooters. It turns out there is a difference between these kinds of motorbikes when it comes to licenses, speed, and where you can ride, but not much difference in terms of your safety as a rider. We take a look at laws for riders in Indiana and the kinds of dangers they face when drivers are negligent.

Is it a Moped or a Scooter?

In Indiana, motor-driven cycles that are not motorcycles fall into one of two legal categories. While the name moped was originally used for cycles that had both an engine and pedals, the term now refers to smaller, less powerful cycles. Mopeds generally have motors that are 50cc or smaller and can’t go faster than about 40 miles per hour. Indiana categorizes mopeds as Motor-Driven Cycle Class B and does not require a special endorsement on your license. Because of their speed, these cycles can only be ridden on local roads. Riders under 18 are required to wear a helmet.

Scooters, on the other hand, are Class A cycles in Indiana and require that you have a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license. These cycles range in size from anything over 50cc up to 250cc. They differ from motorcycles in their design: they have a step-through frame, and the rider sits upright, rather than leaning forward with the engine between their legs. Some scooters may be allowed on the freeway, depending on engine size and local ordinances. Indiana’s helmet law applies to scooters as well.

Drivers Treat All Cycles the Same

Regardless of the size or speed of your moped, scooter, or motorcycle, you are always at risk of being cut off or run off the road by a negligent driver. Common accidents involving these cycles include:

  • Turning crashes. Because mopeds and scooters are small, drivers have to look carefully for them before making either a left or a right turn at an intersection or into a parking lot. Drivers often assume that mopeds are slow and that they can beat them
  • Side-swipe. Small cycles can easily be lost in a driver’s blind spot. If a driver fails to look over their shoulder before changing lanes or turning, they can run a scooter off the road.
  • Merging collision. When a driver fails to see a moped or scooter entering the lane in front of them or fails to allow time for the cycle to accelerate to speed, a rear-end collision can occur. These kinds of crashes can be fatal for the rider.

As a scooter or moped rider, it is on you to be extra cautious and vigilant when riding around town. However, you are still entitled to an expectation that drivers will observe their duty of care towards you. When a driver fails to do so, they could be held accountable for your injuries.

Keller & Keller Welcomes Moped & Scooter Cases

Our attorneys ride motorcycles, and we are sympathetic to accident victims who ride. Fill out our contact form or call our Indianapolis office to find out how we can help you after a moped or scooter crash caused by a negligent driver. We are here for you!


James R. Keller
Connect with me
Partner at Keller & Keller
Post A Comment