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.

Massachusetts drivers take note: Registry of Motor Vehicles services are changing

The economy is taking its toll in many ways – one of them being that states are looking to tighten budgets and streamline state services. The budget is taking a toll on Mass Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) services that many drivers have come to rely on. For example, the RMV no longer mails license renewal notices – it will be up to drivers to keep track of license expiration dates and to renew at least seven days prior to expiration. Your license renews on your birthday.
In addition, the RMV recently announced the closure of 11 MA RMV offices and a shift to 5 additional “mitigation” centers. The branches that closed or are closing include: Lowell, North Attleboro, Cambridgeside Galleria, New Bedford, Springfield (Eastfield Mall), Southbridge, Framingham, Falmouth, Eastham, Beverly, and Boston (Chinatown).
New new full and express mitigation offices will be located at: MTA Charlton Turnpike Center (full), MTA Natick Service Plaza (express), MHD Canal Visitor Center (express), MHD Peabody (express), and a location in Boston to be announced.
See a map of the new MA RMV
RMV reminds drivers that 18 transactions are now available online in the Express Lane. The RMV plans to partner with libraries to offer ways to help those people who aren’t yet taking advantage of online services help in earning how to navigate online. Online services include:

  • Change Your Address
  • Free FAST LANE sign up
  • License Inquiry
  • Permit Inquiry
  • Mass/Liquor ID Inquiry
  • Order Special Plates
  • Organ and Tissue Donor
  • Pay Citations (Tickets)
  • Registration Inquiry
  • Renew Your Driver’s License
  • Renew Your Mass ID
  • Renew Your Registration
  • Replace Your Driver’s License
  • Replace Your Mass ID
  • Request a Driving Record
  • Request a Duplicate Registration
  • Title/Lien Inquiry
  • Verify Your Driver’s Ed Certificate