The National Academies

BTSCRP BTS-19 [Active]

Moped and Motor Scooter (50 cc or less) Safety: Issues and Countermeasures

  Project Data
Funds: $349,999
Staff Responsibility: Richard Retting
Research Agency: University of South Florida
Principal Investigator: Chanyoung Lee
Effective Date: 12/14/2021
Completion Date: 12/14/2023
Comments: Research underway

Despite having similar risks and roadway safety challenges, mopeds and seated motor scooters are seldom held to the same safety and training standards and considerations as motorcycles. In the United States, most of the states only require a standard driver license to operate a moped or seated motor scooter, and few states have universal moped or seated scooter helmet legislation. As a result, there is a public perception of mopeds and seated motor scooters that is fundamentally different from motorcycles when it comes to safety precautions such as the use of personal protective gear, most importantly helmets. Although motorcycles can travel at higher speeds, some mopeds and seated motor scooters can exceed speeds of 30 mph, and their riders are also susceptible to severe and fatal injuries. 
There are few studies on the risk factors and negative outcomes associated with moped and seated motor scooter use in the United States. As a result, there is also a lack of resources for officials tasked with enacting and enforcing moped and seated motor scooter safety policies. Research is needed to investigate safety issues unique to moped and seated motor scooter riding and to connect those findings with intervention strategies, practical policy recommendations, and educational programs.
The objective of this research is to produce a report and supporting tools that will (1) document the patterns of moped and seated motor scooter use (e.g., 50 cc and 30mph / 50kph or less) and identify user profiles; (2) document the nature and extent of the risk factors associated with moped and seated motor scooter for on-road use; (3) develop tools for both decision makers and the general public that provide recommended safety improvements based on the identified risk factors; and (4) develop model licensing and training requirements for moped and seated motor scooter riders that limit risk factors.

STATUS: Research underway.

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