The state House has passed a bill that would require not only moped riders to wear vests but also have flashing red tail lights on the moped. The bill passed the chamber last week and is now in Senate committee.
It’s one of 10 bills filed by legislators this session seeking a safety solution to moped accidents that have risen in recent years, injuring or killing hundreds annually.
“The biggest issue is people don’t see them,” Representative Mike Ryhal, R-Myrtle Beach and chief sponsor of the bill told the Greenville News. “They get up on them and before you know it, there is an accident.”
The House is also considering a separate bill that would bar mopeds from any roads with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour or higher.
The number of moped-related traffic deaths is increasing, however. State Department of Public Safety figures show 23 people died in moped accidents in 2013. Last year, that number increased by nearly 40 percent to were 32 moped fatalities. The number of moped crashes involving injuries did decline over the same span, from 677 to 581 incidents.
Moped drivers are not required to have a driver’s license or to carry liability insurance. Operators can be as young as 14 and even those with a suspended driver’s license are allowed to use mopeds for six months. Lawmakers have filed a number of bills to make moped use safer.
A bill by State Rep. Bill Crosby, R-North Charleston, would require mopeds to be registered and carry insurance. It would also ban drivers with a suspended license from using them. His bill also would keep them off any public road with a speed limit of more than 35 mph.
A bill by State Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington; Sen. Greg Hembree R-Horry; and Sen. Larry Martin R-Pickens, would classify a moped as a motor vehicle for the purposes of insurance and registration.
Another bill by State Reps. David Hiott, R-Pickens, and Murrell Smith, R- Sumter, would ban mopeds from public highways and streets.
Dillard said she wants vests required because people just don’t see mopeds until it is too late. “It’s to protect everybody’s life out there,” she said.