Moped accidents on the rise in the Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - This summer, the Grand Strand has seen several accidents involving mopeds. One of them was fatal. Police say the number of accidents may be because more mopeds are on the road this year than ever before.

"A moped up against a car.. you're going to lose every time," explains Lance Corporal Ray Pollock with the North Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Ocean Boulevard is known to have it's share of mopeds on the road. but South Carolina Highway Patrol Corporal Sonny Collins says that may not be where the most accidents happen.

Instead, he points to multilane highways like 501 and 17, and says speed limit may play a factor.

One couple visiting the area admits they were surprised to see mopeds on the busier roads.

"If I would pass one, I would make sure I have five feet before I'd go around one," says Dave Fike, visiting from Pennsylvania.

One moped accident happened late Friday afternoon on Main Street in Conway.

Lt. Selena Small with Conway Police says the moped driver was cited for following too closely.

Another accident just a day before was on US 17 and in late June, 56-year-old William Todd died at the scene of a crash. He was on a moped.

Police say many moped riders are tourists who are not familiar with the area.

"You need to look out that you don't run over them because they're going to see a billboard, see a sign, or see the street they need to turn onto, and they are going to - they're just going to dart for it," Lance Corporal Ray Pollock says.

Corporal Collins also explains mopeds can be deceptive, especially in the dark.

One driver feels mopeds simply lack power on the road and that alone makes it scary.

"If they're driving along 25, 30 miles per hour, that's about the top speed, and they wouldn't have enough power to get out of the road if they need to scoot real fast," Fike says.

Lance Corporal Pollock says he sees another scary issue too often.

"They're obviously underage and they don't have helmets," he says. "They are not wearing helmets and they are required to have a helmet - anyone under the age of 21."

Police say sharing the road with mopeds comes down to two things: awareness and visibility.

A driver should always be aware of everybody on the road, but with mopeds it is important to know they can't go too fast.

They also have dimmer and smaller lights making it hard to tell if they're turning.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.