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Police Complaints Board Recommends Steps to Increase Public Awareness of District Laws Governing Mopeds and Motor Scooters

Friday, August 13, 2010

(Washington, DC) The Police Complaints Board (PCB), which oversees the Office of Police Complaints (OPC), today issued a report urging the District of Columbia’s Mayor, Council, and Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to take steps to increase public awareness of DC requirements for lawful operation of low-speed motorcycles and motorized bicycles, popularly known as mopeds and motor scooters.

The need for greater awareness of DC laws governing mopeds and motor scooters became apparent through citizen complaints filed against MPD officers with OPC.  The complaints were filed by moped and motor scooter operators who were stopped in Washington, DC, by MPD officers and warned or ticketed for failure to comply with various registration and operator requirements.

The complaints revealed that members of the public are unaware that vehicles marketed as mopeds and motor scooters yet capable of traveling at speeds greater than 35 miles per hour are classified as motorcycles in the District and are subject to motorcycle registration, licensing, and helmet requirements. 

Among the key recommendations in its report, PCB proposes to increase public knowledge of District laws applicable to mopeds and motor scooters through the development of a brochure by the DC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  This brochure could then be distributed at DMV offices and MPD district stations, as well as to Washington-area moped and motor scooter dealers.  

In addition, PCB recommends that DMV develop a public service announcement explaining the requirements for lawful and safe operation of mopeds and motor scooters in the District that can be aired periodically on TV and radio stations.

According to OPC Executive Director Philip K. Eure, “If the public were better educated about District rules applicable to mopeds and motor scooters, compliance with the rules would increase.  This would both improve public safety and reduce the filing of unfounded police misconduct complaints.”

To view a full copy of PCB’s full report and recommendations, click on the link below: