Massachusetts Motorcycle & Moped Regulations

July 21, 2017

In this nice weather, many lucky motor vehicle passengers have the luxury of putting the top down on their cars and letting the wind blow through their hair. Drivers of motorcycles and mopeds cannot enjoy the same indulgences, as a helmet is required for drivers in both instances. Before getting out on your motorcycle or moped this summer make sure you are aware of all Massachusetts road regulations in order to take your vehicle out for a safe ride.

Motorcycle Helmets

Motorcycle helmets must meet or exceed United States Department of Transportation standards. State law requires the helmet to comply with the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218.  Motorcycle helmets that meet this standard will be labeled with stickers on the inside and outside.

Other Motorcycle Safety Regulations

Besides a helmet, motorcyclists are also required to wear some form of eye protection unless your motorcycle has a windscreen to protect your eyes. Also you must have a headlight on at all times, including the daytime. To be taken out on the roads, your motorcycle needs at least one rearview mirror and workable turn signals. If you purchase a motorcycle in Massachusetts and it does not come with the necessary functioning parts, Lemon Law states you have the right to return a motor vehicle under certain conditions. With motorcycles specifically, you have up to 7 days to return the motorcycle if it does not comply with Massachusetts standards.

Motorcycle Insurance

If you own a motorcycle, you must have minimum liability insurance including $20,000/$40,000 for bodily injuries and $5,000 for property damages. You must be able to demonstrate a policy or a certificate that lists limits of coverage as proof of your vehicle’s insurance.

Moped Regulations

To ride your moped this summer, a moped sticker, issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, must be affixed to the moped. To obtain this sticker a moped must be shown to be a “motorized bicycle.” This means that it must:

  • Have a cylinder capacity of no more than 50 cubic centimeters.
  • Have an automatic transmission.
  • Be capable of a maximum speed of no more than 30 mph.
  • Comply with applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.

In Massachusetts, Mopeds shall not be operated by any person under sixteen years of age, any person who does not have a valid license or permit, at a speed greater than 25 mph, and without the operator and any passenger wearing a DOT standard helmet.

Moped operators are subject to the same traffic laws, rules and regulations outlined in the Commonwealth for other motor vehicles. Mopeds have the right to use all public ways in the Commonwealth, except they have limited access on express state highways where signs prohibiting bicycles are posted. When a moped operator is turning, he/she must signal their intention to stop or turn by using either hand. Mopeds may keep right when passing a motor vehicle in the travel lane of way. Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 90, section 1B, a person convicted of a violation of motorized bicycle operation regulations shall be punished by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars for the first offense, not less than twenty-five nor more than fifty dollars for a second offense, and not less than fifty nor more than one hundred dollars for subsequent offenses committed.

Other Regulations

Both motorcycle and moped standards and operating laws vary from state to state. A license that is permitted in Massachusetts may not be valid when crossing state borders. Also licenses may become null if you are not using your vehicle for years at a time.  Be sure to check your local town ordinances before riding.

It is important to keep these facts in mind when taking your motorcycle or moped out for a ride this summer. In the unfortunate case of an accident, your obeying of the operating regulations for your vehicle will only help your case. If you have any questions regarding the operations of your motorcycle or moped call the Murphy Law Group today at (978) 686-3200.