On a campus strained for motor vehicle parking and known for bicycles, mopeds have always been a popular choice for students.
UW freshman Kelly Egan said she bought a moped for two reasons.
“I wanted to get around quickly and efficiently,” she said.
Egan and other students also traced UW moped popularity to the relatively inexpensive cost of a scooter.
“We sell three to five mopeds daily,” Marty Hickey said, sales manager at the Engelhart Center moped-mart. Hickey said the most popular moped this fall is a Honda model that costs $1,699 and incorporates a retro European style into its plastic body panel.
Moped operation is different from many other types of motor vehicle operation. A valid driver’s license is required as well as a certificate of title.
A moped cannot exceed speeds greater than 30 miles per hour and may carry only one rider according to Wisconsin State Statute #340.01. In 2002, UW Police issued 16 citations for illegal moped riding.
Many moped engines are 50 cubic centimeters in size or smaller and cannot exceed sizes of 130 cubic centimeters. The engine size and location must be an integral part of the vehicle, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Operation of mopeds on sidewalks, bike lanes and freeways are prohibited. Like all motor vehicles, moped drivers must also obey all traffic signals, such as yielding to pedestrians and slowing down in school zones.
The parking laws differ for mopeds. They can be parked in bike racks or in other designated bike-moped parking areas, according to Wisconsin State Statute.
UW campus bicycle parking regulations state that mopeds may not be parked on sidewalks, block pedestrian traffic or become destructive to natural areas.
Police issue tickets for illegal parking in buildings, building entrances, grassy areas and blocked bicycle racks.
UW sophomore Amelia Barber said she was aware and up to date with moped regulations. Upon purchasing her moped she was given a safety instruction pamphlet as well as an operation manual.
“I also wear a helmet, which is unusual,” Barber added. Barber suggested caution when locking up mopeds because last year her moped was stolen and found later by UW Police in a ditch. Now Barber said she always secures a sterling lock on her moped’s wheel instead of around the handle. When the wheel is locked the moped cannot be walked away, as in the case of the handle lock.