Letters to the Editor

Letter: Myrtle Beach has no power over mo-ped laws

Myrtle Beach resident Carl Sivertsen wrote recently (“Ban something many can support — mo-peds”) to ask that the city’s elected officials consider restricting how and where mo-peds may be operated on public streets. He noted that most local jurisdictions have implemented an “umbrellas only” rule on the beach for at least part of the year and drew a parallel with moped regulations.

However, state law — not city or county law — governs mo-peds and their use on public roads. See Section 56 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.

Per state law, a mo-ped is defined as having an engine of no more than 50 cc, which produces no more than two brake horsepower. The engine should not be capable of propelling the vehicle in excess of 30 mph on level ground.

State law sets the top speed limit for a mo-ped at 25 miles per hour. Further, the law allows mo-peds to travel on any road, except limited-access highways with a posted minimum speed limit higher than the mo-ped’s 25 mph maximum.

Violations are misdemeanors, subject to fines of up to $200 and/or 30 days in jail upon conviction.

Mr. Sivertsen may be pleased to know that the City of Myrtle Beach is researching steps it can take to ensure mo-ped-related businesses are in compliance with state law regarding mo-peds’ maximum speed and engine size. In other words, if it doesn’t meet the state definition, it can’t be operated.

To request changes to the state law that governs mo-peds, Mr. Sivertsen should contact his House and Senate representatives in the General Assembly. (S.C. Sen. Greg Hembree, R-Little River, is seeking support for laws that would better regulate the bikes.)

The writer is spokesman for the City of Myrtle Beach.