Local Politics

Lawmaker pushes licenses for scooter, moped drivers

Posted February 24, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— House lawmakers are considering a bill that would require mo-ped and scooter drivers to have licenses.

In North Carolina, those operators need not have a driver's license, registration or insurance.

Scooters and mo-peds could soon require a license Scooters and mopeds could soon require a license

“None of these people have financial responsibility. If they cause an accident, they’re absolved,” said Rep. Nelson Cole, D-Rockingham County.

Cole is in the process of introducing a separate bill requiring mo-peds and scooters to be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles and be covered by insurance.

“It’s definitely going to impact our scooter sales because the reason that people buy these is they don’t have a driver’s license,” Matison Motorsports manager Ryan Huffman.

Huffman said some customers do have licenses, but buy scooters and mo-peds to avoid paying insurance. Others use the vehicles to save on gas.

Huffman said the majority of his scooter customers don't have licenses, however.

Many drivers, like Stephen Kennel, have lost their licenses.

Kennel said his driver’s license was revoked and the only vehicle he is allowed to drive is a scooter.

“When you get to that point, you have no other choice. … You have to get around somehow,” Kennel said.

“Their problem is not my problem. Their problem is they violated the law. We can’t afford to have those people on the road,” Cole said.

Statewide, the number of mo-peds and mo-ped-related crashes are rising. Last year there were 492 wrecks involving mo-peds – 100 more than the previous year. In 2006 there were 326 wrecks involving the vehicles.

“We need to do something to regulate this,” Cole said.

If the legislation is passed, Kennel said it would change the way he gets around.

“I’m going to be walking a lot more,” Kennel said.

State law defines a mo-ped as "a vehicle that has two or three wheels, no external shifting device, and a motor that does not exceed 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement and cannot propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on a level surface."

The terms mo-ped and scooter are often interchanged.


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  • colliedave Feb 25, 2009

    Cole is in the process of introducing a separate bill requiring mo-peds and scooters to be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles and be covered by insurance.

    Let's get real, it's a way to bring more money into the government coffers.

  • any1butcarolina0405 Feb 25, 2009

    I like how we're supposed to share the road and treat these people like cars, but when you're at a traffic light or stop sign they zip right past the line of cars WAITING to go and then tie up traffic even more. i'll share the road when you do!

  • demo7691 Feb 25, 2009

    Inssurance on these vehicles is a must to cover any damage casued by them. As long as they ride within the 2-3 feet to the right side of lane they are ok. When they hog a whole lane and tie up a lot of traffic then this causes accidents in many cases. Same with bicycles. I ride a bicycle some but Im not crazy enough to ride in the middle of the lane. Thats looking for trouble on the triangle roads.

  • Bob3425 Feb 25, 2009

    I would agree these motorbike are a problem out on the road and the driver should be require to be licensed. I also don't beleive driver who have had their license revoked should be allowed to operate motorbike. I have a problem with kids on battery operated bikes/toys that parents let them ride without being supervised.

  • joneschall Feb 25, 2009

    Many of the comments on this post are precisely indicative of the narrow-minded, selfish attitudes and short-term thinking that got this country into the crisis it's in. "Me, my, mine!"

    Fact is that MANY, MANY scooter operators are not "DUI Drunks", but are responsible folks who have come to the realization that you don't need a giant truck, over blown SUV, or fancy BMW to get to work or run errands. We are SMARTER than you Big Truck folks b/c we have found a way to get 100+ MPG, leave a lighter footprint on the environment and roads (scootters do not cause giant potholes, but your Big Truck just tears up the road!)

    When you get over your need to impress your neighbors with debt you can't afford, for a vehicle you do not need, you'll begin to see the wisdom of low-impact, high MPG, convenient and FUN two wheel transportation.

    Seriously. You may own the road now. But soon enough the bill will come due and your "Me, my, mine" lifestyle will catch up with you.

  • tbajr Feb 25, 2009

    Contrary to what you want to believe and what the "State" says
    that driving is a "privilege" is wrong. Driving upon the highways is an unalienable right. Anyone ever heard of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"? The State does not own the highways-The People at large do - the ones who pay the gas taxes. So if you want to get a license and register your property with DMV, yes it becomes a privilege, you have signed your rights away. In a Republican form of government there is no
    compelled performance, save a contract (when you sign the license), unless you damage or injure anothers rights. Everyone has a right to travel upon the highway save those who use them for commercial purposes. (taxi cabs, etc.) those are the ones
    that must be licensed.

  • gammasandi Feb 24, 2009

    ABSOLUTELY licenses and registration for moped and scooter drivers-AND WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, DEAL WITH THE ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLES AND THEIR DRIVERS-those folks think that everyone's property is their racetrack-as landowners we cringe at the thought of trespassers driving dangerously, winding up injured and litigating to hilt-LEGISLATORS ARE YOU LISTENING??

  • NE Raleigh Feb 24, 2009

    Scooters and mopeds shouldn't even be on the road. They create more of a hazzard because the top speed on these vehicle is very low and they can't keep up with the flow of traffic on most roads safely. Is insurance required for mopeds and scooters?

  • inspector Feb 24, 2009

    Just remember to those of you who want to bash bicyclist in your travel lane.....You as a driver of any vehicle do not have a right to be on the highway or any road system. It is a privilege granted to you by the state that enables you to use the road. Bicyclist have as much right as you and if they wanted too could ride down the middle without worry of repercussion (except roads with a minimum speed limit of 40 such as an interstate). And don't give me the excuse that you pay taxes - It does not change anything.

  • mep Feb 24, 2009

    If it has wheels and is on the road it should have a licence, registration, and insurance. Because if it is on the road, and has the ability to damage my car, I had better get my money to fix it. And I dont want to have to do it in small claims court.
    Make the scooter licences easy to get, even for those folks that lose their vehicle licences. Think of all the revenue for the state!