Mopeds offer an economical alternative to other types of motor vehicles. But while mopeds can get about 100 miles to the gallon, riders face many risks.

Moped riders often share roads posted with speed limits their mopeds can’t handle. South Carolina defines a moped as a cycle with pedals that cannot travel more than 30 mph on level ground. This means moped riders should not go on major roads with higher speeds under any circumstances.

Experts recommend that riders wear helmets and protective clothing. Closed-toe shoes and gloves designed to grip the throttle can improve safety.

Bright clothing or reflective vests make mopeds more visible to other motorists. Traveling during daytime hours is another way moped riders can remain safer on the road.

Finally, moped riders should avoid distractions. Like drivers of all motor vehicles, moped operators can put themselves in treacherous situations if they try to text message or talk on a cell phone.

South Carolina Moped Laws

Mopeds in South Carolina may have a maximum of two brake horsepower with a motor no more than 50 cubic centimeters. Additionally, South Carolina law states that if a moped has an internal combustion engine, it must have a power drive system that ensures the operator isn’t required to clutch or shift while in motion.

Mopeds don’t need to be registered in South Carolina. But before purchasing a moped, be sure to check your local DMV office to see whether you will need a Class M motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.

If you are over 15 years of age and have a valid driver’s license already, you are not obligated to obtain this endorsement or a moped license. It’s important to note, though, that people under age 14 cannot ride street-legal mopeds without a permit or a license. Individuals in this category must obtain a moped permit or a moped license to ride on South Carolina roads.

South Carolina law distinguishes between mopeds and scooters. Even though a moped may resemble a scooter in many ways, a scooter is viewed as a motorcycle because it can maintain higher speeds. Scooter operators must be licensed and insured as motorcycle operators.

South Carolina does not require helmets for moped riders, though experts highly recommend them. People who drive scooters, on the other hand, are required to follow the state’s helmet laws. This means that scooter riders under age 21 must wear protective headgear.

By design, mopeds are not equipped with a framework that can guard riders in case of a collision, making them vulnerable to serious injuries in crashes. According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the number of fatalities in crashes involving mopeds rose from five in 2006 to 19 in 2011.The number of people injured during that period increased from 262 to 610.

Need Legal Help?

Moped and motorcycle accidents can happen in a split second and may cause injuries or death. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a South Carolina moped or motorcycle accident because of somebody else’s careless driving, contact our South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Joye Law Firm. Call (877) 936-9707 or use our online form so our attorneys can offer you advice about your rights.

Sources:

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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