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Moped Rules Could Disproportionately Affect DWI Offenders

Police say drivers with suspended licenses often turn to mopeds because they're not heavily regulated.

Moped

Photo: Jeremy Seitz (Flickr)

Lawmakers say they want mopeds to be insured in the same way cars are if they're to be on city streets.

A bill awaiting action from Governor Pence could get thousands of people with suspended driver‘s licenses off the roads, by keeping them off their mopeds.

The General Assembly approved new regulations for scooters and small motorcycles, including for the first time requiring all of them to have license plates, regardless of their size. The reason?

“We find, and I don‘t think it‘s a secret to anybody, that a lot of people operating these vehicles have had their licenses revoked or suspended or have been convicted of driving while intoxicated,” said Capt. Dave Bursten of Indiana State Police.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles says there are currently more than 550,000 Indiana drivers whose licenses have been suspended. While not all of those are using mopeds to get around, Bursten describes the lack of regulation of the vehicles as a “wild west” scenario, especially since moped and scooter riders are not required to have insurance as are drivers of other vehicles. He says the current law on mopeds was written four decades ago when no one envisioned even smaller scooters achieving speeds of 45 miles an hour or more as they are now.

The proposed regulations vary depending on the size of the scooter or moped.

“Motorized vehicles up to 50 cc, people operating those will have to have a valid identification card – they don‘t have to have a driver‘s license – and the vehicle must be plated,” Bursten says. For vehicles over 50 cc, “those will require all of the normal registration, plating and driver‘s license with motorcycle endorsements that are required when you think about a traditional motorcycle.”

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