North Carolina moped laws & insurance requirements

You might not need a license, but insurance and helmets are a must

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Compared to other states, you’ll find a few relaxed laws for mopeds in North Carolina, while other laws are tighter. Key laws keep the same standards as motorcycles — all riders need helmets, and liability coverage is required.

Moped vs. motorcycle laws in North Carolina

North Carolina has a specific set of guidelines for mopeds riding on state roads. This state considers your vehicle a moped if it:

  • Has two or three wheels
  • Does not have an external gear shift
  • Its engine size is under 50 cc
  • Does not exceed 30 mph on a level road

North Carolina motorcycle laws

Motorcycles have more freedom on North Carolina roads when it comes to highway riding and higher speeds. But for safety’s sake, riders should take note of several important laws:

  • Motorcycle endorsement or learner’s permit required
  • Standard, full provisional or commercial driver’s license required
  • Riders between ages 16 and 18 should complete a motorcycle safety course
  • Riders ages 16 to 18 must have parental consent
  • Riders under 18 cannot ride with a passenger
  • Must have a horn, headlights, rearview mirror and muffler
  • Two bikes in a single lane is legal

North Carolina moped laws

North Carolina doesn’t require a moped to have a vehicle title, but they must have at least liability insurance coverage. Other moped laws to keep in mind:

  • Register with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles
  • Designed for public road use
  • Obey all traffic laws
  • Drive on the right side of the road
  • Mopeds that exceed 30 mph must be registered as a motorcycle
  • DUI laws for other vehicles apply to mopeds
  • Cannot share the same lane with other vehicles
  • Cannot ride between lanes to pass traffic
  • Must use electric turn signal or hand signal

North Carolina scooter laws

Requirements for scooters in North Carolina depend on the model and engine size. Bikes with engine sizes smaller than 50 cc are classified as a scooter or moped. Anything bigger needs to be registered as a motorcycle.

Moped insurance in North Carolina

You’re required to get coverage for your moped in North Carolina, unlike some states. That insurance can come through a scooter policy or motorcycle insurance, which is typically cheaper than a car insurance policy.

Both moped and motorcycle requirements involve at least liability coverage with limits of:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability
  • $60,000 for bodily injuries per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage liability

While premiums can vary based on factors like your provider and driving record, the average motorcycle policy is $519 per year. Mopeds may run a bit cheaper because of their small engine size, which could be considered low risk.

License requirements for mopeds

North Carolina doesn’t require a driver’s license for moped riders, but riders should be at least 16 years old.

However, you’ll want to make sure you’re following your vehicle’s true classification here. Motorcycle riders need both a regular driver’s license and motorcycle endorsement or learner’s permit to ride legally, and that law applies to many bike types above 50 cc.

Helmet laws in North Carolina

Although mopeds and motorcycles have several different laws, all riders and passengers for any bike must wear helmets. Period.

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Bottom line

Although riding mopeds versus motorcycles means slower speeds and a less-tempting engine size, North Carolina has some laws that stay the same for both. Because all riders on public roads need insurance, you might want to shop around for coverage in your area.

Frequently asked questions about North Carolina moped coverage

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