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Moped Parking


Minnesota Moped Parking

This issue comes up a lot. At dealerships, in emails, at online forums, chatting at events, all over the place. It seems that nobody has a clear answer about the rules for moped parking in Minnesota in general and in the Twin Cities specifically. Let me start by saying that after digging through the 2011 Minnesota Statues and talking with several members of local law enforcement, there IS no clear answer. Sorry. I wish I could spell out the rules for you, but it's a real mess. I can save you a bunch of reading and just say: "Don't park your moped in a bike rack unless you KNOW it's OK or can afford the likely ticket."

What is a moped (as far as the State of Minnesota is concerned) in the first place? From the Minnesota Motorcycle Manual (sorry if the link doesn't work, they keep changing it), "Motorized bicycles are registered as mopeds. A motorized bicycle must meet the following requirements: Electric motor or a liquid-fueled engine with piston displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less, Maximum of two brake horsepower, Maximum speed of 30 MPH on a flat surface." In Minnesota, mopeds are NOT just 50cc scooters. Lots of very nice 50cc scooters don't meet the other two criteria of 2 horsepower and a top speed of 30 MPH. That includes the Vespa 50, Yamaha Zuma and C3 among others. Of course lots of very nice 50cc scooters DO meet all three Minnesota criteria like the Genuine Buddy and RoughHouse as well as the Kymco People, Like and Sento. I don't of any new true mopeds (pedals AND a motor) in Minnesota except Tomos, but there are plenty of vintage "real" mopeds out there that meet all three criteria along with optional pedal-power.

To legally operate a moped in Minnesota you need a valid driver's license. There is a special permit for 15 year-olds. Just because I know a lot of you are thinking it, from the manual: "Mopeds are not allowed on lanes or trails that have been set aside for bicycles and the exclusive use of non-motorized traffic."

The issue of moped parking gets cloudy very quickly. According to Minnesota Statue 169.222, subdivision nine: "A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by local authorities. A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic." Unusual in legal circles, the local statute supersedes the state statute. Statue 169.222 pertains to bicycles, Statute 169.223 pertains to "motorized bicycles" (mopeds) and in subdivision one, paragraph four states: "the provisions of section 169.222 governing the parking of bicycles apply to motorized bicycles" which seems to be a clear indication that mopeds have the same parking rules as bicycles. It gets fuzzier.

University of Minnesota
Statute 169.965 states: "The regents of the University of Minnesota may, from time to time, make, adopt, and enforce such rules....  relating to the regulation of traffic and parking, upon parking facilities..." so the U of M rules are their own for moped parking. As of this writing, one needs a permit and is assigned a specific parking area for one's moped on the U of M campuses.

I spoke with a few law enforcement officers in Minneapolis and in most cases, mopeds were just fine in bicycle racks as long as they aren't on private property. There are some downtown buildings that have bike racks that they (the building) own and those rules for use will vary with the building. St. Paul was tougher, except for a couple of lots downtown, mopeds, scooters and motorcycles aren't really welcome in city parking facilities. Other St. Paul buildings with lots (Comcast for example) have areas set aside for motorcycles, scooters and mopeds.

If there is a bike rack that you want to utilize with your moped on a regular basis, ask about it. Call local police, traffic division, and ask. If you're not sure whose rack it is, check with the building it's nearest. Look for posted signs. A while back I was in uptown Minneapolis and noticed two bike racks near each other. One had a "Bicycle Parking Only" sign and the other had nothing. I played it safe and parked at the unposted rack. If you get a parking ticket and decide to contest it, at least now you have the appropriate Minnesota Statutes to refer to.  

David Harrington


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