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Moped Accidents on the Rise in South Carolina


Earlier this year, the Post and Courier reported a fatal accident in North Charleston involving a moped, which was the second serious moped accident in that same week. According to preliminary investigations, the driver of the moped was pinned beneath a truck that failed to yield the right of way.

An earlier hit-and-run moped accident, which left the moped driver seriously injured and involved a car driver who fled the scene of the accident. According to the article, 33 moped riders were fatally injured in South Carolina in 2014, which is almost three times as many as five years earlier and represents a 32 percent increase over the 25 riders killed in 2013.

The Attraction of Mopeds

A moped is a motorized scooter that is unable to exceed 30 miles per hour, is required to have a rear plate that identifies it as a moped, and is far less costly than a motorcycle. A moped can be purchased for less than $1,000 and it is able to operate on more than 100 miles per a gallon of gas. Additionally, one can find free parking for mopeds in downtown Charleston or around the beaches. As a result, 13 percent more licenses for mopeds, known as Class G, have been granted in South Carolina within the past five years. This increase doesn’t capture the whole picture since it only includes riders who do not possess a regular driver’s license: these riders do not require an additional license to ride a moped.

Few Moped Laws

Another article from the Post and Courier highlighting moped safety regulations points out that typically the moped driver is not at fault. Nevertheless, the regulations around mopeds are fairly lackadaisical in South Carolina. Although moped drivers are not allowed to travel more than 25 mph under South Carolina law, they are free to travel on streets and roads with much higher speed limits, unless they are otherwise specifically prohibited.

The article also points out that certain efforts to protect South Carolina’s moped drivers have failed. For example, in 2014 the House passed a bill that would have required moped drivers to possess reflective vests and for mopeds to retain flashing red lights. The bill also would have required moped riders to purchase insurance and would allow law enforcement to cite them for driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately, the bill was not approved by the Senate and failed to go into effect.

Other states have successfully passed stronger moped laws. For example, in Virginia, moped riders are required to wear a helmet, as well as goggles or a face shield if the moped doesn’t have a windshield. Additionally, moped drivers in Virginia must be at least 16 years old and have no DUI convictions.

Accident Help in Charleston

Moped riders can do a few things to protect themselves such as wearing reflective clothing and put blinking lights on moped or the rider’s helmet. However, if you have been involved in an accident with another vehicle while riding a moped, contact an experienced Charleston personal injury lawyer today. The attorneys at Pierce, Sloan, Kennedy & Early LLC will help you with a strategy to get compensation for your injuries.

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