Changes To Moped Laws Hope To Deter Theft

by | Jul 3, 2014 | POLITICS

Starting this month, moped owners can no longer run rampant (at a whopping maximum speed of 35 mph) through Richmond without having their vehicle titled and registered through the DMV.

Starting this month, moped owners can no longer run rampant (at a whopping maximum speed of 35 mph) through Richmond without having their vehicle titled and registered through the DMV.

“This will allow law enforcement to better track mopeds, deal with them when they’re stolen and more effectively deal with crashes,” said Sunni Brown, the Virginia DMV public relations and media liaison.

Prior to the new legislation, moped owners were required to wear a helmet and eye protection if their scooter did not have a windshield, and were not required to hold a driver’s or motorcycle license as long as they carried a state-issued ID.

These requirements have not changed with the implementation of the new law.

“The new law hasn’t affected sales so far because you still don’t need a motorcycle license which is the biggest thing for most people,” said Alex Pagliuca, a sales associate at Scoot Richmond, a local moped retailer and small-business in Richmond’s South Side.

Pagliuca, like Brown, said one of the largest factors as to why the law was made was to combat theft of scooters. He said his shop is one of the first places moped owners call when their scooter is stolen after contacting the police.

“This is good for moped owners because the moped will be titled and, for us, I think we’ll mostly be getting less calls and it’s more convenient because every time a scooter comes it’ll be easier to verify if it’s stolen,” he said.

He added that the store currently keeps a running list of the descriptions of vehicles which have been reported stolen. He also said often times stolen modpeds will be discarded and the towing companies will auction them off, and the new law will hopefully minimize this.

Under the new law, the DMV does not require or collect an electric vehicle fee, insurance, an odometer reading, safety inspection or sales and use tax. Brown said that failure to have a moped titled and registered could result in a class two misdemeanor, a one thousand dollar fine and up to six months in prison.

“The moped community was certainly involved with the coming about of this law,” Brown said. “Scoot Richmond was involved and a few other small businesses, the law enforcement community, other safety organizations— a whole host of folks came to the table to get together and talk about the issue.”

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at

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