There is no doubt that mopeds and motor scooters have increased in popularity in recent years. The sky-rocketing gas prices and those who want to use more environmentally friendly means of transportation have boosted sales in these previously scoffed at modes of travel. What is concerning to many is the lack of safety for both riders and others on the road.
The Motor Scooter Loophole
The problem with the mopeds and motor scooters is that they seem to have created a loophole in the system when it comes to public safety and regulation. Since mopeds and small motor scooters are somewhere in between a bicycle and a motorcycle, they seem to have circumvented regulations that motorcycle riders must adhere to. Although Illinois does require that moped riders have a driver’s license, many states do not. Also, even though a driver’s license is required in Illinois, there is no separate motorcycle training or license that would ensure that riders of these motorized bikes are aware of the dangers that a two-wheel vehicle may face.
However, it is important to note that Illinois, unlike many other states does require that mopeds are licensed and that the riders have liability insurance. This is a step in the right direction as these riders are very vulnerable on the road and having insurance can at least protect them and other drivers on the road financially when an accident happens.
Moped Riders Need To Look Out For Their Safety
The fact is that mopeds and motor scooters are difficult for other drivers to see and anticipate, just like bicycles and motorcycles. The difference is that they are somewhere in between these other two common modes of transportation, making them even more susceptible to accidents. Whether mandated or not, moped riders need to take their own safety into consideration before getting on the road with larger, faster vehicles. Some safety measures that may save their life or their bank accounts:
- Training. Riding a motorized two-wheel vehicle is much different than driving a car or even riding a bike. Although it is not required by law, going through a motorcycle training class can help moped riders learn safety techniques used by their bigger two-wheeled siblings.
- Helmets. Anyone on a two-wheeled vehicle, whether it is a bike, moped or Harley, should be wearing a helmet. It is just common sense and the only protection against a serious head injury and death in an accident.
- Uninsured motorist insurance. When a moped and four-wheeled vehicle collide, you can bet the one on the short end of the stick as far as injuries goes will be the moped rider. Having uninsured motorist and under-insured motorist coverage can cover hit and run accidents and anything that is not covered by the other person’s insurance.
Mopeds can be a great way to get around, especially in a congested urban area. They are cheap to buy, use very little gas, are fun to ride and easy to park. However, riders need to make sure they understand the dangers of being so exposed on the roads and protect themselves any way they can. By making safety a forethought, not an afterthought, riding a moped can be a great way to get around and save money on transportation costs.