When Does a Bike Become a Moped?

Personal Injury Attorney

Bicycles and mopeds are among the most popular transportation options throughout the state of Colorado, especially in the Denver area. In fact, some estimate that there approximately 10,000 scooters and mopeds in Denver alone. There are specific laws and regulations that apply to bikes and mopeds, however, so it is important to ensure you understand your obligations under these rules.

Motorized Bicycles 

A motorized bicycle, according to Colorado law, does not have a motor bigger than 750 watts. In addition, these bikes cannot travel more than 20 miles per hour.


Colorado defines mopeds as vehicles with 2 or 3 wheels that have an automatic transmission. A moped’s cylinder capacity must be smaller than 50 cc (or 4476 watts if an electric model). On a flat surface, the moped cannot travel faster than 30 miles per hour.

If a moped possesses more power than that listed in the statute, it must be classified as a motorcycle.

Moped Laws in Colorado

If a vehicle qualifies as a moped, it must be registered in the state of Colorado. To register, the owner must provide proof of insurance and proof of ownership. A registration fee of $5.85 must also be paid.

These individuals, while traveling on their mopeds, must abide by all traffic laws, just like other Colorado motorists.

The Rise in Popularity of Electric Scooters

Electric scooters were first introduced to Denver in the summer of 2018. These popular devices are used by both residents and tourists alike to get around the city. There are various locations where electric scooters may be rented and returned.

Once House Bill 19-1221 was passed, the definition of motorized scooters was changed from “toy vehicles” to “vehicles.” This change in language authorized the use of electric scooters on public roadways in Colorado.

House Bill 19-1221 also provided those using electric scooters the same rights and duties as those afforded to those traveling on electrical assisted bicycles.

Unfortunately, there have been a number of accidents involving electric scooters in Colorado. Although most of these accidents result in relatively minor injuries, like broken bones, many scooter-related accident victims have sustained permanent injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries.

In August of 2019, the first death in a scooter-related accident in the City of Denver was reported. An ordinance is being introduced to improve safety measures. According to the proposed ordinance, using electric scooters would be prohibited on sidewalks. Instead, electric scooters would need to be used in bike lanes or on roadways.

Failing to Follow Applicable Laws May Be Used Against You

Whether you own a motorized bicycle, moped, or scooter, if you fail to follow applicable laws and regulations, it could be used against you if you are involved in an accident.  If electric scooters are not allowed on the sidewalk, make sure you ride in the bicycle lanes or on the road.  If you are using any of these modes of transportation in the regular traffic lanes, make sure you follow normal driving rules – just like you would when driving a car.   

If you have been injured in an accident, you need to schedule a consultation with an experienced Denver personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. If an opposing party or insurance company is trying to pin blame on you for the accident, it is critical that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can properly investigate the circumstances of your crash.

If you prevail in your case, you may be entitled to the cost of your medical bills, lost wages, and even the cost of any future medical care you may need. You may also be able to pursue a claim for pain and suffering damages. Your attorney will help you determine which damages you are entitled to.

Donaldson Law, LLC is Experienced in Scooter-Related Accident Claims

At the Donaldson Law, LLC, our legal team handles various types of personal injury claims, including those involving scooters, mopeds, or electric bikes. To schedule a free consultation and learn about your legal options, contact us at (303) 458-5000.

Filed Under: Bicycle Accidents