Re “Mo-ped riders in South Carolina finally might face sensible rules of the road” editorial by The Sun News.
After reading this editorial several times, there seems to be several key factors in this legislation that should be brought to your reader’s attention.
The opening paragraph addresses financial costs and loss of life. As currently written, this legislation will most likely not make a positive change in this data, as the mopeds will still be traveling the same roadways with the same operators as they are now. In fact, once word spreads that it is perfectly OK to operate low-speed vehicles on high-speed roadways, the number of injuries and fatalities may increase.
If mopeds are to be classified as “motor vehicles,” shouldn’t legislation require that mopeds follow all South Carolina motor vehicle laws?
Below are several other areas of concern regarding this legislation:
Section 56-1-1730 (A) states: “A person is eligible for a mo-ped operator license without regard to his eligibility or the status of any other driver license or permit.”
This will allow anyone with a suspended driver license to walk into a DMV office and walk out with a mo-ped license, allowing complete freedom to return to the highways and circumventing any penalties for past violations of motor vehicle laws. This is like telling a vandal that it is OK he painted graffiti on a building, that he’ll just be issued a smaller brush to use next time.
Section 56-2-3010 (C) states: “Mo-peds are not required to be insured or titled in this state.”
All other motor vehicles in South Carolina are required to be titled and insured. Why not mo-peds? When a mo-ped is at fault in an accident, resulting in property or bodily injury, who will be financially responsible? The other motorist, who has insurance?
Section 56-2-3010 (D) states: “Mo-peds are exempt from ad valorem property tax in this state.”
As a motor vehicle, why should mo-peds be exempt from taxes? Mo-peds are using the same roadways and services as all other motor vehicles.
Section 56-2-3070 (C) states: “A person, while operating a mo-ped along a multi-lane highway, must travel in the farthest right lane except when making a left turn or when traveling in the farthest right lane is otherwise unsafe. And: “A person may not operate a moped on a public highway that has a speed limit greater than 55 mph.”
South Carolina is going to allow a vehicle that is supposed to have a maximum speed of 35 mph on multi-lane, high-speed highways such as 17 Bypass, sections of S.C. 31 and sections of S.C. 22. This may very well increase the number of injuries and loss of life involving mo-peds.
Simply stated, this is bad legislation that protects no one and will be on the books but never enforced, like so many other laws.
The writer lives in Garden City Beach.