Raleigh, N.C. — Moped owners would have to register their rides with the state and carry insurance under a bill that cleared the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday morning.
The bill, which has already has passed the Senate Insurance Committee, differs from House Bill 1145 as it was passed by the House, where members stripped a provision requiring insurance.
"A true moped is limited to 30 mph on flat and level ground," said John Hill, a dealer from Greensboro who spoke on behalf of the North Carolina Motorcycle Dealers Association.
Many of the accidents that make the news as "moped" collisions, Hill said, were actually bigger scooters with engines that exceed the 50-cc limit placed on mopeds in state statute.
Requiring insurance, Hill argued, would mean that people who rely on mopeds to get to work would be priced out of the market.
Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, argued that the insurance requirement would mean moped riders would have "skin in the game" when they caused an accident.
That prompted Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, to quip, "I don't think we need to worry about moped riders have skin in the game when they have an accident," a reference to their physical disadvantage against a car.
Stein asked whether the state shouldn't first carry out a study that looked at how many accidents are actually caused by mopeds.
"I just think it makes common sense for them to have some financial responsibility," Apodaca said.
Tim Lucas with the North Carolina Rate Bureau, which helps set insurance rates, said a basic policy that would be required by the law would cost $65 per year. But that would be for a licensed driver with a clean record. Drivers who had lost their licenses, for example, could end up paying around $400 for such a policy.
The measure cleared the committee on a voice vote. If it passes a vote of the full Senate, it would return to the House, where lawmakers would have to decide whether to accept the changes to the bill or ask to negotiate a compromise.