New law on MA scooters kicks in on 7/31/09: you may need insurance


If you live in Massachusetts and you own a scooter, the rules of the game are changing on July 31. Currently, many owners of 50cc scooters – such as some makes of Vespas and Hondas – have been registering these vehicles as mopeds, which requires only a sticker. But under the new law, “limited use” vehicles that can reach speeds of between 30 and 40 miles per hour must now carry license plates and owners will be required to insure them. Mopeds that do not reach speeds of 30 miles per hour do not need to be plated. The state also defines another category of “low speed” vehicles that travel between 20 and 25 mph.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles offers more information about the new law and the distinction between mopeds, “low speed” and “limited use” vehicles. If you are unsure about insurance requirements, call your local agent.
The new law is taking many scooter owners by surprise. In addition to the insurance and registration requirements, there was one other controversial side effect to the law – because vehicles with plates cannot park on sidewalks, scooter users were at risk of losing their special free parking status, one of the main benefits for commuters. At least for now, the city of Boston has agreed that the ban on sidewalk parking won’t be enforced unless scooters are blocking handicapped access or otherwise parked obtrusively.