7 Wisconsin Moped Laws That Every Rider Should Know

Mopeds are a great way to get around Wisconsin. They’re affordable and fuel-efficient, making them convenient for daily travel throughout much of the year. But before you hit the road, it is important to understand Wisconsin’s moped laws to ensure your safety and avoid exposing yourself to liability.

In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of Wisconsin’s moped laws, including registration requirements, licensing, insurance, and safety regulations. Let’s get right to it!

1. Understanding What Qualifies as a Moped in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin DMV regulations, a moped is defined by its engine size, which must not exceed 50 cubic centimeters (CCs) or 130 CCs if it is a bicycle-type vehicle with fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power.

2. Navigating Licensing Requirements for Moped

There are two ways to operate a moped in Wisconsin:

  • Class D valid driver’s license: Anyone with a valid Class D driver’s license can operate a moped without any additional endorsement. This is the most common way for locals to operate mopeds. A Class D driver’s license is obtained after passing the written and road tests at a Wisconsin DMV office.
  • A Special Restricted License: This license is issued by the DMV for individuals who don’t otherwise qualify for a driver’s license due to physical challenges. A special restricted license allows an individual to operate a moped on roads with speed limits of up to 35 miles per hour. This is a very specific class of license and only applies to individuals who don’t qualify for a standard class D license due to their physical limitations.

While you don’t need a motorcycle license to ride a moped, it’s important to meet the licensing requirements.

3. Rules for Operating a Moped on Wisconsin Roads

Mopeds in Wisconsin are able to travel on any road except freeways or roads where moped use is prohibited. For example, mopeds are entitled to use a full traffic lane, as long as it is not on a freeway or on private property without permission. Moped riders must also follow the same traffic laws as other vehicles, including obeying speed limits and traffic signals.

Mopeds may use bike paths where they are specifically allowed, but they are not required to do so. They are not, however, allowed on pedestrian paths, such as walking trails. Unlike bicycles, which may be ridden on sidewalks in some municipalities, there are no circumstances where a moped can be ridden on a sidewalk. However, mopeds can be parked or stored on sidewalks or other areas reserved for bicycles as long as they are not blocking pedestrian traffic.

4. Insurance Requirements for Mopeds in Wisconsin

If you have a regular driver license, you must have liability insurance at a minimum.  You can also purchase additional coverage such as medical payments, collision, and comprehensive insurance.

Liability insurance covers you for bodily injury or damage to someone else’s property if you are at fault in an accident. This insurance is required by law, so it is essential to make sure you have the proper coverage before riding your moped.

5. Adhering to Safety Equipment and Regulations for Mopeds

Wisconsin does not have a helmet law, but wearing a helmet is highly recommended for safe driving. Even at low speeds, accidents can happen, and a helmet can save your life.

Also, mopeds must be equipped with the following safety equipment:

  • Headlights: A working headlight is required when operating in low-light conditions.
  • Rear Reflectors: Mopeds must have at least one red reflector on the rear of the vehicle.
  • Brakes: Mopeds must have a brake that can stop the vehicle within 25 feet when traveling at 20 miles per hour.
  • Horn: Mopeds must have an audible horn or other warning device.
  • Seat: Mopeds must be equipped with a seat for the operator to sit on while driving.

6. The Process of Registering and Titling Your Moped

Registration and titling are required for all mopeds operated on public roadways in Wisconsin. A moped registration is valid for three years, and the process can be completed at your local DMV office. You will need to bring:

  • Proof of ownership: This can be a Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO), title or certificate of origin from another state or country, or a Bill of Sale.
  • Completed Title/License Plate Application (Form MV1): This form can be obtained at the DMV office or downloaded from their website.
  • Proof of identity: A valid Wisconsin driver’s license or identification card is required.

7. Understanding the Penalties for Violating Wisconsin’s Moped Laws

When you’re driving a moped, you’re subject to all traffic laws in Wisconsin. Violating them can result in fines, points on your driving record, or the suspension of your license. Remember to follow all moped laws to stay safe.

Some common penalties for violating Wisconsin’s moped laws include:

  • Driving without a valid Class D license: Up to $200 fine
  • Operating while under the influence (OWI): Fines, license suspension, and possible jail time
  • Failure to register or title your moped: Up to a $200 fine
  • Driving recklessly or endangering others: Fines, points on your driving record, or possible license suspension

Injured in a Moped Crash? Turn to Pasternak and Zirgibel

Not only are mopeds convenient, the laws regulating them are straightforward. With no special licensing requirements, it’s easy to see why many Wisconsinites turn to mopeds from spring to fall. However, as fun and convenient as they are, mopeds come with a unique set of risks.

Like motorcyclists and bicyclists, moped riders are smaller and much more exposed to risky situations. Motorists often scan the roads for other cars — but fail to see moped riders. Without the safety features of vehicles like airbags and seatbelts, moped riders can be seriously injured, even in what appear to be minor crashes.

If you’re hurt in a moped crash, your injuries could be life changing. Loss of income during your recovery, medical expenses, and rehabilitation costs can add insult to injury, and put even more stress on you during a traumatic period. Don’t go through that alone.

If you’re hurt riding a moped, turn to representatives you can trust. Frank Pasternak and Jeff Zirgibel are dedicated personal injury attorneys with decades of experience representing injured cyclists, motorcyclists, and moped riders. Their commitment to your case means that you’ll have a fierce representative to guide you through the legal process, a liaison to deal with deceptive insurers, and an advocate who understands what you deserve and won’t accept a penny less.

If you’re injured in a moped crash, get a representative who will personally handle your case. Contact Pasternak and Zirgibel for your free case consultation when you need it.