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

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 was to produce a report and supporting tools to (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.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $349999
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project BTS-19

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Behavioral Traffic Safety Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Governors Highway Safety Association

    444 N. Capitol Street, NW, Suite 722
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, D.C.  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Retting, Richard

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of South Florida, Tampa

    3650 Spectrum Boulevard, Suite 160
    Tampa, FL  United States  33612
  • Principal Investigators:

    Lee, Chanyoung

  • Start Date: 20211214
  • Expected Completion Date: 20231214
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01744478
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project BTS-19
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: Jun 30 2020 11:06AM