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Seat belts and moped regulations - MessAge Media: Other Opinions

Seat belts and moped regulations

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 5:00 am

Question: I have heard a lot about “click it or ticket” recently, I thought seat belt use was at an all-time high?

Answer: Most Minnesotans are making the life-saving decision to buckle up. According to the 2018 Minnesota Seat Belt Survey, 92.4% of front seat occupants are wearing their seat belts. Unfortunately, that means more than 7% of motorists continue to risk their lives and the lives of those in the vehicle by failing to buckle up.

Preliminary numbers show 92 unbelted motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads in 2018. This is the reason why education and enforcement are necessary: to save lives. We’d rather meet you on the shoulder of the road now than at a violent crash scene down the road.

All passengers must be properly restrained — even those in the back seat. All children must also be buckled in the proper child seat.  

A seat belt is your best defense in case of a crash — every time you get into a vehicle, be the voice of reason and speak up — remind everyone to buckle up.


In Minnesota, all children must be in a child restraint until they are 4’ 9” tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first.

Rear-facing child seats - Newborns to at least one year and 20 pounds; recommended up to age 2. It is safest to keep a child rear-facing as long as possible.

Forward-facing seats - Age 2 until around age 4. It’s preferable to keep children in a harnessed restraint until they reach the maximum weight limit.

Booster seats - Use after outgrowing a forward-facing harnessed restraint; safest to remain in a booster until 4’ 9” tall, or at least age 8, whichever comes first.

Seat belts - Use when children can sit with their back against the vehicle seat and have their knees bent comfortably over the edge with their feet touching the floor. Belts should be worn snug across the hips or thighs and should never be tucked under the arm or behind the back.

Question: Moped rentals are being considered in my city. Can you talk about the laws and rules that cover moped operations and if insurance is required on them? What is the difference between a moped and motor scooter?

Answer: Great question as I am starting to see more mopeds on our roadways.

A moped is a vehicle that is propelled by a motor of a capacity of 50cc or less, and a maximum of two brake horse power, which is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 30 mph on a flat surface.

Any person who has a valid Minnesota driver’s license may operate a moped without taking the moped test. Anyone without a driver’s license, regardless of age, must obtain a moped operator’s permit. Additional information about moped permit requirements is online in the Motorcycle Manual.

A motorized foot scooter is capable of no more than 15 mph and has no more than two 12-inch or smaller diameter wheels All operators of motorized foot scooters must be 12 years of age or older to operate one legally. No passengers may ride on motorized foot scooters.


You may not ride on bicycle lanes, trails, or interstate freeways.

You must operate as close to the right side of the road as possible.

You must wear a helmet if you are younger than 18 years old.

The moped must have a working headlight and taillight for nighttime operation.

If you are younger than 16 years old, you may not ride with passengers unless the passenger is a parent/guardian.

Also, mopeds must be registered in Minnesota. A title or proof of sale of the moped is required to register it, along with a photo.  Mopeds are required to have license plates and proof of motorcycle liability insurance.  

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Neil Dickenson, Minnesota State Patrol, 1131 Mesaba Ave., Duluth, MN 55811.

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