Lawmakers approve moped insurance requirement

Posted June 23, 2015

— After years of debate over the issue, the state Senate gave final approval Tuesday to requiring moped drivers to carry liability insurance.

House Bill 148 requires moped drivers to have minimum liability insurance as defined under state law, which is $30,000 for injury or death of one person, $60,000 for injury or death of two or more people and $25,000 for property damage.

The legislation follows last year's law requiring moped drivers to register their vehicles with the state Division of Motor Vehicles. The registration requirement takes effect July 1. The new insurance requirement takes effect July 1, 2016.

According to Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the state Department of Insurance projects that will cost about $80 a year for drivers who have no points on their licenses. But that soars to $380 a year for drivers with a driving while impaired conviction on their record.

Apodaca suggested moped drivers who've had their licenses permanently revoked probably won't be able to obtain insurance coverage at all.

Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, spoke against the measure, saying it's an additional hardship to impose on people who are struggling to find transportation to get to jobs and support their families.

"Many people that ride these aren’t just drunks," Bingham argued.

Of those who are riding mopeds because they've lost their license for a DWI, he said, some may be veterans back from active duty who "got in trouble" with DWIs. He urged the Senate to do more to allow drivers with DWIs to use ignition interlock devices instead. He said requiring moped insurance is unnecessary.

"We all have and we all pay an uninsured motorist bill now," he said. "I think you all know that, if you have an accident with a moped against Sen. Berger's Buick, the moped would lose."

But Apodaca cited a 2014 study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center that found 39 percent of moped drivers brought in for treatment had alcohol in their systems, compared with 24 percent of those treated for car accidents.

He also cited a study by Carolinas Medical Center, which found that half of all moped drivers it treated in 2011 had been drinking.

"Forty-five percent had a previous DWI, and 71 percent of those were repeat offenders," Apodaca said.

Twenty-one of 32 states that regulate mopeds require their drivers to carry insurance, he added.

The legislation passed 39-8. It now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory, who can choose to sign it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.


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  • Thomas Fenske Jun 24, 2015
    user avatar

    All of the examples used in the justification don't relate to the need for LIABILITY insurance. Yes, they are dangerous -- to the riders. If they are intoxicated, even moreso. Liability insurance is used, generally, so if they run into YOU or your car, you can be compensated for that damage. All of the justification I've read for this law seems to point to the potential for injury to the rider, which doesn't make sense as the point of this law. I'm not saying there shouldn't be liability insurance, it is just that the arguments don't fit the situation being presented.

  • Dan May Jun 24, 2015
    user avatar

    Because scooters are motorized vehicles. These are no "mopeds" that is a misnomer. Bicycles are peddle powered. Why is that so difficult. Motorized vehicles using public roadways should all require license to operate and insurance coverage. Seems simple to me.

  • David Bunn Jun 24, 2015
    user avatar

    About time! And they are not supposed to be on roads with a speed limit over 35mph, so back roads are not an option. Get them off the street!

  • Paul Jones Jun 24, 2015
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I'll answer that for you: because these things doing go fast. I don't even agree with requiring insurance or registration.

    A fair question to ask is why bikes are not subject to these new moped laws?

    I wouldn't argue for that, but the logic is the same. Perhaps cyclists aren't drunk as often, but they're nonetheless a risk on the road. We've seen many instances where people have died riding a bike down the road. 45mph car doors a lot of damage to a bike when they collide.

  • Kevin Weidner Jun 23, 2015
    user avatar

    Lisa - If I'm not mistaken, in order to be classified as a moped and not a motorcycle, moped engines are limited to 49 or 50 cubic centimeters in size. This size limitation prevents them from going much over 25 to 30 MPH. There are laws on the books preventing Mopeds from using both interstate and state highways, but they are rarely enforced. In addition to the registration and insurance requirements, I'm of the opinion that the drivers should be licensed as well. You have to have a "Motorcycle" endorsement added to your NC drivers license in order to be a licensed motorcycle operator, why does this not also apply to mopeds? Are they not expected to adhere to the same traffic laws as everyone else?

  • Lisa Marie Fields Jun 23, 2015
    user avatar

    They also need to make sure that mopeds can at least do the speed limits of the roads that they travel on or use the back roads!!