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Once free of DMV, now scooters/mopeds need titles and plates by July 1

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RICHMOND, Va. -- For generations, mopeds and little scooters represented the last bastion of motoring freedom. If the motor was under 50 ccs  – basically powered by a popcorn popper – all you had to do is get on it and ride.

New immigrants, poor folks, students and young-uns could get around on their freedom machines.

It was the favored transportation of those who had lost their licenses for drunk driving, hence the nickname “liquor-cycles"

Then the laws came marching in. Drunk drivers couldn’t roll like that anymore.

Helmet laws and eye protection, of course. Anytime over 50ccs was treated as a motorcycle.

And now, effective July 1, you’ve got to register and plate your jewel with DMV. The price will be $30.25 for the first year and $20.25 for each year thereafter.

Chelsea Lahmers with Scoot Richmond was part of the panel that came up with the law, to help thwart  the explosion of thefts as these 80-mile-per-gallon-and-up rides become ever more popular.

Before, you stood next-to-no chance to get your stolen ride back, she said. Now, if it’s found or police run into it, you stand a much better chance of getting it back.

“It’s still the easiest way to get on two wheels without doing a lot of stuff,” Chelsea said. (You still don’t need insurance, a license or an inspection.)

Longtime moped mechanic Dana Birmingham is in total agreement. Those who complain about losing their freedom should just “get over it,” he said.

But my old friend and longtime rider Nigel Peyton says it’s a tax on the poor, who make up a large percentage of the moped/scooter population.

He and others believe current owners should be grandfathered – so they don’t have to comply. Many of bohemian-style riders take great pleasure in modifying and parts-swapping to keep their ancient steeds running, so many have no titles or bills of sales to bring to DMV.

If you have one of these Frankenbikes or “rat-peds,” you can still register it, with a little more legwork.

All this to thwart crime. This wouldn’t be happening without this stinking crime wave.

Me, I hate thieves. I hate having to lock up my stuff and keep up with my keys and worry when my motorcycles are in rough areas or when I have valuables in my car.

Now they’ve stolen away the last bastion of motoring freedom.

I hate that. I always liked the idea that a poor or disconnected person had a cheap way to get around. And the renegade in me also liked the idea that there was this one way to fly under the radar.



Here's a look at the form you will neeed:  http://www.dmv.state.va.us/webdoc/pdf/VSA12m.pdf

Bring in some form of government issued identification, such as a Virginia ID card, drivers license, etc. Basically the owner will need a Virginia customer number which is typically the number on one's ID/license.

You do not need to have proof of purchase. Combining the affidavit in lieu of title with the other necessary documents allows the DMV to create a title without having proof of purchase. This is important because many bikes have been through many sets of hands before having been titled.


  • Wlm Woosley

    Another law passed without the public knowing/ a 3 day heads-up and that would be SAT/SUN. Welcome to the State of Virginia. The common wealth has their hands deep in every ones pocket☻

    • Brittany

      That is actually not true at all. They passed the law effective July 1st 2013 and gave all of us a year to get it done.

      A very important (and annoying) step was left out of the process by the writer: if you built your mopeds (like I, and most moped riders did), you need to bring those affidavits in lieu of a title to a notary with proof of your build or someone who sold the moped to you and pay to have them notarized before the DMV will accept them.

      Also, who is the spelling and grammar checker at WTVR that’s letting articles like this get published?? C’mon guys, it looks like an 11th grader wrote this.

  • manalishi

    I understand and support most DUI penalties. But at which point does a law like this cross the line by taking away a persons means? “Nigel Peyton says it’s a tax on the poor” Indisputable fact.

    This is the result of “bi-partisanship”. On one side you have 0 tolerance to the level of spite. The left just uses any opportunity to raid a wallet, poor be damned. Please don’t think for 1 second that the police give a s**t about your stolen scooter, tagged or not.

  • johnny

    this law has nothing to do with stolen scooters it has to do with Va wanting more money.and for those that thought this was a good idea wait until your paying as much to insure your little scooter as a car.give it time,its coming.oh and don’t forget the fee for the yearly inspection.good move scooter girl

  • Ron Melancon

    The pannel did not listen to us! Google this. Dangerous trailers virginia helps stolen trailers . The talk about stolen mopeds is not true. You have more trailers being stolen and re registered as Honemade trailers and this tv station has ignored this story. Congressman Cantor ignored our video so we posted it on line. Google dangerous trailers how to steal a trailer.

    Now about 35
    other states don’t have registrations for these stolen mopeds So I can steal your moped and sell it out of state. This committee ignored us

  • Derrick George

    It boggles my mind how a government can suddenly turn a freedom into a privilege. I did not commit to this government. I did not agree to be governed in this way. Yes it is a TAX on poor folks. NO MORE LICENSES. Stricter liability is needed. We could do away with DMV all together.

  • Dennis

    I think these scooter/moped plates have more to do with the “pay by plate” tolls that are now popping up everywhere. In the area I live the Jordan bridge connects south Norfolk to the shipyard in Portsmouth.
    There are a lot of workers that ride scooters over that toll bridge getting to work daily.
    That will now be $3.00 per day for a plated scooter rider. Do the math.
    Follow the money!

    • manalishi

      Considering it’s a revenue issue, i suspect they will throw the book at you. No registration is the start, failure to show proof of registration, operating without a license, assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and anything else that can generate a few bucks for the municipality. Even a “not guilty” verdict is court costs per offence.

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