Mopeds, or gas-powered scooters, are popular in Colorado as an alternative to typical passenger vehicles and public transportation. They’re also faster than bicycles and relatively easy to use. Since they are very different from most other vehicles, there are specific laws in place pertaining to these vehicles and how they can be used in Colorado. You should know and understand these laws if you own or plan to own a moped in Colorado. If you have had a scooter accident, you need the advice of a Colorado scooter accident lawyer. Failing to abide by these laws can lead to fines and other penalties. Adhering to applicable Colorado moped laws can also lower your risk of experiencing an accident with a car in Denver.
Understanding Moped Laws in Colorado
Colorado enforces specific laws pertaining to gas-powered and electric mopeds. A “moped” is any self-propelled scooter that has no more than three wheels. Colorado law does not permit the use of gas-powered mopeds with engines larger than 50cc. When it comes to electric mopeds, engines may not exceed 4,476 watts of power.
Colorado does not require a special license for mopeds. However, similar rules apply for mopeds as they do for standard motor vehicles. You must have a valid Colorado driver’s license to operate a moped, and you must cover the moped with an insurance policy that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements.
The state’s laws pertaining to mopeds also intersect with some bicycle laws. For example, you cannot ride a moped on an interstate highway, and mopeds are allowed to use designated bike lanes in most areas of Colorado. Moped users should use caution around bicyclists as they could potentially startle them and cause a bicycle accident. Moped riders should also remember they are smaller and harder to see than passenger vehicles, so they should always use extra caution when taking a lane or riding in or near motor vehicle traffic.
It is also important to understand that Colorado’s laws against driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs also apply to mopeds. If you are suspected of operating a moped under the influence, police have the right to stop you. If you are proven to be using your moped while intoxicated, you face criminal prosecution under Colorado’s DUI laws.
Mopeds vs. Scooters
A “moped” is typically operated while standing on the vehicle’s lower platform, supported by a handlebar. A “scooter” is operated while sitting, similar to a motorcycle. However, these two terms are often used interchangeably. When it comes to street legality and license requirements, the point of contention is typically the engine size. Standing-style scooters with engines over 50cc would be very difficult to operate. It would be unrealistic for anyone to attempt to use a scooter with this powerful engine. On the other hand, Scooters can have larger engines but will technically qualify as motorcycles according to Colorado state law.
Important Things to Remember About Mopeds and Scooters
All drivers must carefully review the laws in their area pertaining to mopeds and scooters if they plan to use these vehicles. Failure to do so can lead to fines, points on your driver’s license, and other penalties. It’s also possible to cause a serious accident if you fail to abide by these laws. For example, if you ride your scooter on a sidewalk or any area designated for pedestrians, you could easily cause a serious pedestrian accident and incur liability for the victim’s damages.
Colorado does not enforce a helmet law for riders over the age of 18, similar to motorcycles. However, a licensed driver under the age of 18 who wishes to ride a moped or scooter must wear a helmet at all times. Mopeds and scooters may not be able to go as fast as motorcycles and standard passenger vehicles. However, it is still possible for an operator to suffer severe head injuries in an accident if they do not wear an appropriately fitted helmet.
What to Do After a Moped Accident
If you are hurt in a moped accident, it is natural to wonder how you can prove accountability for the accident and secure compensation for your damages. If another party is responsible for causing the accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages, and the process you will face will mirror what you could expect following a car accident in the state:
- Report the accident to 911. State law requires drivers to report all accidents resulting in significant property damage, injuries, or death. Call 911 to report the accident if you are able to do so, and do not leave the scene of the crash until responding officers allow you to leave.
- Record any evidence you can at the scene. If you are able to do so safely, try to take photos of your injuries, the damage to your vehicle, and the surrounding scene of the accident. These photos could be invaluable later as you attempt to prove liability for your damages.
- Seek medical care. Your health should be your priority after any accident, so seek medical care immediately, even if you think you only suffered minor injuries. Your doctor can check for injuries that may not yet be immediately noticeable.
- Contact an attorney. An experienced attorney can help build a claim against the driver who caused your accident. Your recovery may require an auto insurance claim as well as a personal injury suit, and legal counsel you can trust will be invaluable for both of these recovery efforts.
- Gather evidence to prove fault. Colorado is a fault state for all vehicle accidents, so you must prove fault before you will be able to secure any compensation for your damages. Your attorney can make this easier by helping you gather physical and digital evidence as well as witness testimony to support your claim.
- Determine the scope of your damages. If you intend to pursue compensation from the driver who hit you, you must show proof of actual harm. This means proving that their actions directly caused tangible losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- File an auto insurance claim. If another driver hits you, you can file a claim against their insurance policy for some initial recovery. Dealing with insurance carriers will be much easier if you have legal counsel on your side. Your attorney can resolve any issues you encounter with their insurance company and help you obtain a fair settlement.
- File a personal injury suit. If you prove fault for your moped accident and the at-fault driver’s insurance can’t fully compensate you for your losses, you can file a personal injury claim to recover the rest. State law allows you to seek full repayment of your economic damages and limited compensation for your pain and suffering.
Ultimately, resolving a moped accident case is similar to what you could expect after most other types of accidents. However, when a larger vehicle hits a moped or scooter, the victim is likely to suffer far worse injuries than they would if they were inside an enclosed passenger vehicle.
FAQs About Colorado State Moped & Scooter Laws
Do You Need a License for a 50cc Scooter in Colorado?
If you own a self-propelled scooter or moped with a 50cc engine, you need to have a valid driver’s license and insurance coverage to drive it. If you do not, you risk fines and other penalties. Additionally, it’s possible to face legal penalties if you violate any of the state’s other traffic laws, specifically those pertaining to where you may legally ride your moped.
Do You Need a License to Dive a 49cc Scooter in Colorado?
50cc is the upper limit for gas-powered scooters in Colorado. If you own any self-propelled gas scooter in Colorado, you need a license to operate it. It may not have an engine larger than 50cc. If the scooter’s engine is larger than 50cc, the operator must have a motorcycle license to operate it legally along with appropriate insurance coverage.
Is a 150cc Scooter Considered a Motorcycle?
In Colorado, any scooter with an engine larger than 50cc technically qualifies as a motorcycle. If you own a scooter or moped with an engine larger than 50cc, you must obtain a motorcycle license to operate it legally. Additionally, you will need to insure the vehicle and register it with the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles.
Is a 49cc Scooter Street Legal in Colorado?
A motorized scooter with an engine smaller than 50cc is street-legal in Colorado. However, operators must follow the state’s laws pertaining to speed limits and street accessibility. You cannot take your scooter on the highway, but you may use bike lanes in some areas. You cannot use any motorized vehicles on sidewalks or areas designated for pedestrians.
Contact A Colorado Moped and Scooter Accident Attorney
Mopeds and scooters can be great fun, and they do not consume as much fuel as standard cars and motorcycles. They’re maneuverable and easy to park, and many people throughout Colorado enjoy using these vehicles. However, they also pose many of the same legal requirements and risks as standard motor vehicles. If you have recently experienced an accident while riding a moped or scooter, or if a moped operator caused an accident and harmed you, you likely have grounds for legal action. Contact the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal to discuss your claim with our team.