New Scooter Law to Take Effect Next Week
Starting Oct. 1, moped and scooter operators can be fined for riding without safety gear, vehicle insurance, or a proper permit and title.
If you own a moped or scooter, get ready to shell out for more gear, insurance, and vehicle identification starting Oct. 1.
Maryland legislators discussed upcoming changes to the state's motor scooter policies Monday during a press conference at the University of Maryland.
A new law passed by the Maryland General Assembly in March requires all motor scooters and mopeds to be insured and display a title decal for identification.
Scooter and moped operators must also wear a helmet and eye protection and possess a valid driver’s license or a moped operator’s permit.
Owners can title their motor scooters online at the Maryland Vehicle Administration website and receive the required decal by mail.
John Kuo, the governor’s Highway Safety Representative, said the law was largely a response to the seven deaths caused by scooter accidents last year.
“You see individuals are riding these scooters on our roadways more," Kuo said. "Obviously it’s a very inexpensive way of getting around to local grocery stores or wherever you’re traveling to.“
After Oct. 1, any motor scooter operator can be fined $110 for not wearing a helmet, $290 for not having insurance, or $70 for not displaying a vehicle title.
Previously, state law only imposed such requirements on motorcycle owners.
“This is something we’ve been working on for several years,” Kuo said. “The existing laws basically had a loophole in it. These under 50cc motor scooters have been falling through the cracks because they’re treated as bicycles.”
Kuo hopes that the new law will help eliminate scooter deaths next year by cutting down on dangerous driving. There have been no such fatalities in College Park this year.
“A lot of people are not aware that by the existing law’s requirements you’re not allowed to ride [scooters] in the middle of the roadway.” Kuo said. “You need to keep to the right of the roadway as much as you can and you cannot be riding them on any roadway above 50 miles per hour.”
Maj. Jerry Jones, the assistant chief of the Maryland State Police Field Operations Bureau, said the bottom line is that safety comes first and that operators need to observe the rules of the road.
“Above all, I urge you to ride safely,” Jones said.