When gas prices hit an all time high last summer, many people purchased a moped or scooter for transportation. Scooters have since become ubiquitous. With the recent explosion in popularity has also come a larger variety of styles and models. Scooters are now bigger and faster than ever before. If you own a moped or scooter or are thinking of buying one, you should know whether or not your moped or scooter needs to be insured. If you fail to insure your moped and you are injured you might not be entitled to certain compensation and you might be subjected to criminal penalties as well.
Motorcycles are specifically exempted from Kentucky’s no fault reparations scheme. Is you moped also exempted? Well, it depends. Kentucky law provides for the payment of certain PIP benefits if you are injured while operating a motor vehicle. However, Kentucky law excludes mopeds from this definition. Kentucky courts have interpreted this to mean that since mopeds are not motor vehicles, the occupants injured while riding the moped are pedestrians. Pedestrians are entitled to PIP benefits from the car that hit them. This is true whether they are at fault or not.
However, the definition of moped does not include every type of scooter or moped. The statute specifically defines moped as a certain type of motorized bicycle that has no larger than a 50cc engine and capable of traveling no faster than 30mph. This definition includes only the smallest of the mopeds seen on the road today. 75cc or higher motorized scooters that travel above 30mph do not fit this definition. They are therefore considered motorcycles not mopeds. If you are in an accident while using one of these “motorcycles” you would not be entitled to $10,000 in PIP, unless you purchased it as optional benefits. You would also be uninsured and responsible personally and legally for any damages you caused.
If you own or operate a scooter or moped that has an engine larger than 50cc, shifts gears, or travels faster than 30 mph you are operating a motorcyle, not a moped. You are required to have that vehicle insured. Other laws pertaining to motorcycles may also apply. You should consider purchasing optional PIP benefits. Otherwise you or your family member might not be protected in the event of an accident.