House rejects moped insurance provision

Posted July 24, 2014

— The state House on Thursday rejected a bill that would have required moped riders to carry insurance, with many members saying anecdotes about scooters causing accidents do not provide enough reason to make such a major policy change. 

Backers of the bill said the measure ensures that people who are riding on public roads can pay for any damage they cause. 

"We conservatives are all for being accountable and personal responsibility except, when we discuss this, we want to give somebody a free ride," said Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow. 

The House had already passed a version of the measure, which would have required moped owners to register their vehicles. But senators added the insurance provision to the bill, saying that moped riders should have some way of compensating other drivers for damage caused on the highways. 

House members voted 51-54 against concurring with the bill, instead sending it to a conference committee. 

During committee hearings on the bill, representatives of the insurance industry said that good drivers might pay somewhere between $50 to $90 per year for a policy. Drivers with more problematic records could pay close to $400, according to some estimates. 

Shepard argued that those riding vehicles on the state's highways should be accountable if they cause an accident. To emphasize his point, Shepard told a story of a recent accident in which a moped exploded. 

"That's like lightning striking," Rep. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, said of Shepard's story and similar ones. "You can't make policy on something as anecdotal as that." 

Other lawmakers objected because they said mopeds were the only transportation some people could afford. Rep. Charles Graham, D-Robeson, noted that some drivers who had lost their licenses used mopeds so they could hold down jobs.

"He can get on a moped and go to work. He can be responsible," Graham said.

Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford, said that, while the nominal registration fee and potential insurance charges didn't sound like a lot to automobile drivers, some of her constituents ride mopeds because they can't afford anything else.

"Just because you have it doesn't mean everyone has it," Adams said.

Several Republicans opposed to the bill sounded the same themes.

"You're just going to really cripple a part of our community that this is all they have – this is all they have to get back and forth to work," said Rep. Mike Stone, R-Lee.

Rep. John Bell, R-Wayne, said that dealers would have to buy costly equipment to carry out the registration requirements and train their staffs to use it. 

The bill, Bell said, "would take a $1,200 moped and turn it into a $2,000 moped."

Other Republicans said backers of the bill simply hadn't made their case. Providing for registration, they said, would allow the state to collect data that could prove whether it was wise to impose an insurance requirement. 

"Anecdotes do not equal data," said Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, "and data is what I need to make my decisions."

During a conference committee, lawmakers from the House and the Senate work out a compromise on a bill that both chambers would have to approve. If a compromise is not reached before the end of session, expected to come as early as next week, the measure dies.


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  • kermit60 Jul 28, 2014

    Another example of our societies shift to non responsibility. So they lost their driving privelage because of a DUI and this is all they have, a scooter? The answer is simple, don't get the DUI. They were irresponsible with their car so now we allow them to be irresponsible with their scooter.

  • notexactly Jul 25, 2014

    View quoted thread

    And if the man couldn't afford 400 a year for insurance, and quit, he would not have been eligible for une payments. and he wouldn't been able to afford gas for the moped. I do get what you are saying but I just do not agree with it

  • notexactly Jul 25, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Your lucky that is all it cost you. This is what I am talking about. Not hating anyone on a moped. But this man cost you money for damage caused by him. So he was charged, big deal. Please post back on here if he pays your bill. As well as you having to miss work or get a rental car. If you did it has cost you much more than $850.00

  • notexactly Jul 25, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I could agree with you only if you were willing to pay the bill if you hit me. What you say is right, But that moped you had years ago was at a time when1 there weren't as many cars on the road, 2 there weren't no where as many mopeds on the road. I get it dude. Yes the ones that ride them and are bettering themselves would most likely pay for any damage. Its the ones that don't care and could damage your property and walk away from it not caring as well. That's all I am saying. Hey if I had to I would ride one to. But its the people that don't really care that need to be held accountable. It could hurt some of those folks for sure, but they got themselves into that position. I don't think $400 a year is too much for anyone to pay. That is 33 a month. The inspection thing is bogus for a moped I agree. What it would take is the insurance companies to come up with a straight fee for insurance for mopeds regardless of past history.

  • weasel2 Jul 25, 2014

    Any motorized vehicle allowed on the roads for personal conveyance in NC should have to be insured.

  • 50s Child Jul 25, 2014

    "Spouting rhetoric...hatred...."

    This is the new "civil"?

  • sidneymorgan Jul 25, 2014

    About 3 weeks ago I was preceding down a four lane highway when a young man on a moped struck the side of my vehicle. The damage was $850.00. The young man was luckily not seriously injured but was charged in the incident. Because he had no insurance I had to pay $250 out of pocket. I have comprehensive insurance an uninsured insurance but still had to pay. I am on a very limited budget and this was a set back for me. When will the day come when we return to personal responsibility? How long can Middle class people as myself keep being punished for the unfortunate circumstances of others? I hope I don't offend anyone. I am just stating my situation and my thoughts

  • Rodney Hill Jul 25, 2014
    user avatar

    As a scooter owner (and a motorcycle owner) I'm glad this bill failed. I paid $1100 for my Honda Elite scoot 10 years ago. I don't ride it much anymore, but why should I have to register a vehicle that only goes as fast as a bicycle. The odds of a scooter rider being the cause of an accident are extremely remote. It's almost always the distracted "cager" who's not looking before they pull out in front of a scoot/moped/motorcycle/bicycle.

    Years ago, I loaned my scoot to a 25ish year old friend who got a DUI. It was his only way to get 5mi to work for a year at a fairly menial job. He rode it rain, show or shine in hot and cold weather. To me, that's a pretty good punishment. If he'd had to pay $400/yr for ins, (assuming they'd give someone with a DUI ins. which I doubt) that probably would have made him quit and take unins. Now he's a VP of a bank.

  • notexactly Jul 25, 2014

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    Maybe. But the bumper is one item. the scratch and dent was over the left rear tire. which means the whole side of the car and the truck has to be painted as well as the dent fixed. That's what I mean. You get hit in the side of the car door by say 300 pound moped and rider going 30 mph, you will have much more damage than the cost of a bumper. plus, was your bumper chrome or plastic? If it was chrome then it came ready to install. If it was plastic then it would have to be painted and then installed most likely. My dads truck with the deer had to have a bumper, radiator, ( fluid) hood, light lens on one side left quarter panel and windshield. That was a little over 3k with paint and materials and labor. My point is you would have to eat that if you didn't have collision insurance or your rates would possibly go up if you did use your insurance. You should not have to incur that cost if the moped is at fault. But you do now, and will still.

  • Matt Wood Jul 25, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    $1800 for "a little scratch and dent" is robbery, I had my whole bumper replaced at a body shop for way less than that!