House bill proposes changes to moped use on SC roads

House bill proposes changes to moped use on SC roads

The House has passed a bill, H. 3440, strengthening the laws surrounding moped use on South Carolina roads and could indirectly impact those who sell them.

The bill isn't a new concept. It puts more restrictions on drivers who rely on mopeds as their only form of transportation.
It would require registration and insurance and new safety measures.

"Oh it would put me out of business...some people just didn't have the income to afford a car, the insurance and especially at the time, the gas," Chris Alex said.

He owns Super Cycles and Scooters in Myrtle Beach. He got out of the moped business a few years ago, fed up with the changes sent down by legislation.

"There was always so much, laws were always changing," Alex said.

This time around, the bill would require moped drivers to have registration and insurance. And for those drivers without a license or a suspended license, they would be banned.

"People that have unfortunately gotten a DUI by making a mistake, they still have to get to work," Alex said. "I think it's going to be a burden on the state if those people...have to start applying for benefits because they can't get a job because they can't make it to work."

We've seen a number of proposals over the years focused on similar changes, but they rarely make it to the governor's desk to become law.

"You want folks who are qualified to drive or operate...but it's just a safety concern and how do you best strike the balance between safety and otherwise inability to drive," said Senator Luke Rankin who represents District 33. "There's a balance that's got to be struck here."

Part of that safety concern is visibility. The bill would require riders to wear reflective vests. However, Alex says he thinks, if a change is going to be made, it should be about speed.

"Everybody's biggest complaint is the speed. Every one wants them off the road, but I think if the speed was at least 45 miles per hour that they wouldn't be such a nuisance," Alex said.

The bill is currently in the senate committee on transportation. But before it made it this far, there was one more proponent to it. The bill would not allow mopeds on public roads with speed limits greater than 35 miles per hour. That stipulation was stripped from the legislation before it made it to the House vote.

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