Law changes could be coming for moped drivers

Published: Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As fatalities on mopeds increase, law enforcement locally and state-wide are stepping up their efforts to make mopeds safer.

Mopeds are easy to drive, affordable and great on gas. However, local police say mopeds also offer riders little protection, putting them in the same category as pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Myrtle Beach Traffic Division says it's seeing a huge jump in the number of people driving mopeds. A local trend local rental companies have noticed, too.

"There has been a demand for them, we've been selling quite a bit of them, as well," says Kelly Hall, the manager of Eaglerider Rentals.

At this time, mopeds are not considered motor vehicles. That means they can't drive more than 25 MPH and drivers who get on them after drinking aren't charged with DUI. It's leaving a lot of gray area on interpreting the law, according to police, especially on enforcing drunk driving.

However, a bill is waiting on the Senate to change that. Rental companies in Myrtle Beach support the change.

"They are driving a motor vehicle. Whether it be a moped, a motorcycle, or a car. Motorcyclists get charged with DUI, they be charges for one as well," says Hall.

Many renters think other moped regulations are outdated.

"I really feel a moped should be registered and insured," suggests Hall.

Other business owners say their concern is over that maximum 25 MPH speed limit enforced on mopeds.

"I think the speed law should be up to date. If you can keep up with the flow of traffic you should be able to do so," suggests Bill Boggs, the owner of BJs Scooters.

Boggs says those low speeds are a safety risk.

"People get behind a moped going 25 MPH with road rage, they get irritated," says Boggs.

There has been an increase in deadly moped crashes, leading to an increase in concern over driver safety.

"I just feel it's more dangerous when a moped is in an accident because you're not secure," says Sharon Vereen, a local driver in the area.

The Traffic Division says they are working with shopkeepers to keep them up to date on regulations. Officers are paying extra attention to moped violations. They say violations go up in the spring with the number of visitors in the area.

Around that time, the Traffic Division believes Highway Patrol will be pushing a new campaign to keep moped drivers safe. It will focus on education and enforcement.

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