South Carolina’s new rules requiring moped drivers to have a license and register their vehicles are in effect.
Mopeds are now considered motor vehicles and must be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Drivers must have either a valid driver’s license, or a moped license, which cost $10 for two years, according to the new law that is being enforced starting Monday.
Riders under 21 must wear a helmet, and mopeds must stay in the far right lane unless turning left.
The license requirement eliminates a loophole that allowed people who had their driver’s license revoked for driving under the influence to use a moped to get around.
Some lawmakers wanted to require drivers to wear reflective vests or have insurance, but that didn’t make it into the new law passed in 2017.
The new rules are needed to keep moped drivers safe, said state Sen. Greg Hembree, who pushed for years for the new rules.
“They are the most dangerous vehicle on the roads because of their speed, and if you get hit on a moped, you got no protection at all,” the Republican from Little River told WMBF-TV .
Police departments said registering mopeds should help deter thefts and make it easier to trace the vehicles if used in a crime.
Moped dealers have mixed feelings about the new law.
Many customers appreciated that owning a moped came without a lot of government red tape, Ted Blumenfeld, owner of Sports Cycle in Spartanburg, told the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg before the law went into effect.
“There’s a lot of people who depend on mopeds just like people depend on a car,” Blumenfeld said. “But I think it’s a good idea to tag them, because it helps eliminate thefts, if nothing else, but I don’t think they should over-regulate them.”
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