My Turn: Mopeds should stay off highways - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

My Turn: Mopeds should stay off highways

In almost five years of doing these commentaries, I've learned some topics really get people motivated to speak up.

Anything having to do with driving and traffic gets people riled up.  And the use of mopeds on our highways is included in that category.

Once again mopeds are in the news after a deadly accident earlier this week in Brunswick County. 

And, our General Assembly is talking about them too. Our news department reported on a bill introduced this past week that would bring more oversight for those who use these.  They'd have to register and insure their mopeds.

I'd like to see that pass and I'd like to see at least one amendment to that bill.  Mopeds are designed to go no faster than 30 miles an hour. That's fine. But that means if the moped can't keep pace with the posted speed limit, it shouldn't be on those particular highways.

A friend of mine used to say, "If you can't run with the big dogs, stay on the porch."  I'm thinking that might just apply to this piece of legislation. 

That's my turn. Now it's your turn. To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at


Emailed comments from viewers:

Gary, I am not at all in favor of restrictions to scooters with engine size of 50 cc or below. Why registration and insurance? They cannot possibly cause damage to anything. And barring them from roads with posted speed limits above 30 mph would be counter-productive to people who are paying the price for having been indiscreet about drinking and driving. As long as they stay by the side of the road, which most do, they are not impeding traffic, and if they are barred from main roads, these people, in most cases, would not be able to get to the jobs they need to support themselves. No, I am not one of them. I have a valid driver's license, use the roads, and do not mind giving these folks a little break. Let's focus on issues of importance like the education of our children and their safety.


I agree with Mr. McNair. Mopeds should stay off of highways. Bicycles also should not be allowed on highways.


I have several vintage collector mopeds and many friends that also operate them, The bill to register them is not a problem. Some of us have actually tried but there is no mechanism to do so yet. I don't really know too many owners that would have a problem with that as it would also require insurance companies to insure drivers and the equipment.

I only take exception to two of your points First; the introduction that implied that a fatal accident somehow needs to lead to restrictions on how the peds are used. Almost every day one or more people are killed in cars or trucks within your listening area.  Huge percentages of these fatalities are the result of (mostly young people) not wearing seatbelts in rollover accidents.

Considering the numbers of mopeds on the road and the rate is pretty low compared to cars.  Should we not then restrict cars instead?? Of course not. Let's just agree to do better no matter what vehicle we operate.

Second.  When you raised the issue of the low speed mopeds are required to operate at I hoped you were leading up to recommending increasing or removing the speed restriction.

Instead you propose disallowing them from operating on roads with limits over 30.

Of course this would be like a fatal blow to their practical use.  I notice you have done several negative reports on mopeds over the last few years so I assume you really don't have any desire to help them. In spite of that (and I could be wrong)may I propose that a better solution is to remove the speed restriction or bump it up to 50 or so?

I do agree that 30mph is just too slow to assure the ability to maneuver when needed and can make it difficult to safely accelerate or get up to a reasonable speed when required.  Although I have heard the people that attempt to claim that they are forced to slow down for mopeds; I defy them to document that as a problem in real life. I believe I mad this point once before in this forum; but for several years I have intentionally watched in my own driving in my car to see if mopeds ever forced me to slow down or delayed me and have never found it to be true. I drive a lot in Wilmington literally all hours of the day and night in  everything from Harleys to pickup trucks and I can assure you that not a day goes by that I am not slowed down or impeded (or forced into a near death experience) by an elderly driver in a full size car or an SUV the size of an Abrams tank. In a time when we should be encouraging people to drive scooters and mopeds and fuel efficient vehicles I just do not understand your open hostility.

By the way, if this really is "My Turn" then I challenge you to relinquish your spot to me for the other side of this issue !


Thank you thank you thank you!

I have been pestering Senator Goolsby on these since he was sworn in. I firmly believe the ones who allowed the mopeds on the streets without registration are idiots. As cops, we call them the DUI bikes because most who ride  them have been banned from the roads already for drunk driving.

Very few follow the rules and most of the mopeds go very fast and are over 50 cc. They don't keep to the right and they don't obey rules of the road. Many are operated by kids under 16 also!   

The retailers should not be allowed to let them leave their property if classifies as a motorcycle...yet they leave enforcement up to police!

Thanks again for another great opinion!


Just a few comments,

  If someone is going to make this happen then what is the difference with a Bicycle..???

Bicycles ride on busy roads also, Bicycles cannot go the speed limit either..???

Are they going to make bicycles get registered and have insurance..??

Just Sayin...???!!!

   This subject could go on and on ...!!!???

                   And by the way I have and ride a Bike,But what is being proposed is going to open a big can of "Why did I do this"

When someone ends up in court over this..!!!


Bravo for addressing the moped issue. There is a bigger problem that needs solving though. After the recent accident, an Officer answering questions concerning mopeds brought up something that most people don't know. Mopeds and bicycles have a right to the entire lane...from solid line to the dotted line. If you hit anyone within those lines, you are at fault. So when passing a bike or moped you shouldn't just pull over half way, you should pull completely out of the lane they are in to pass them. Think of the traffic backups if we have to wait until the oncoming lane is clear to pass. In an age of high gas prices, energy conservation etc., we don't need anything impeding the flow of traffic.


a 49cc moped which currently needs no plate or insurance can do 40 or 45 is economical and i am 68 and use mine for going to the post office
or the beach or when needing just a couple of items from the Food Lion....plates and insurance will not improve the speed or anything else you are looking for.
If you want to bump me off roads that are in excess of 30 or 40 mph then you need to bump bicycles as well as they are out there in the way of traffic and when they are there are usually several of them that hold up traffic.  At least my moped keeps moving unlike bicycles that crawl along and do tie up traffic...your article suffered from a lack of info and understanding.


I agree that we should have mopeds and scooters registered and they should require a license to operate. However, I am not sure that we could restrict their use on certain roads and highways when these same roads are open to bicyclist. Just a thought as the same could be said of bicycles.


Registration equals money.

Insurance equals money.

I still fail to see how the government and insurance companies making money is gonna help the Scooter driver's safety.


If you remember, we swapped emails on this very subject. The legislation proposed is a good start on regulation of vehicles that seems to have no regulations but it needs to go one step farther. As I proposed in emails to the State Representatives, State Senators, Senator Berger and even Gov. Perdue's office, the riders of mopeds and scooters should be required to always wear DOT approved reflective safety vests that would undoubtedly save many lives because who hasn't seen one of those scooters at night with a taillight either out or it's dimmer than a birthday candle behind a red lens. That bill with the vest issue included will not only save lives, but require registration of scooters/mopeds to have a tag that will cut down on the thefts.

The costs to moped owners is just the price to share the road like the rest of us have to pay. It's a win-win situation.


How does requiring the registering and insuring of mopeds help the moped owner/driver get to work any safer? Or is it just designed to PREVENT people who can't afford insurance registration on top of gas/maintenance/purchase price of a car or motorcycle from getting to work, so they'll stay off the roads so jerks like you don't have to slow down or think about anyone else's safety but your own while you cruise around in your Cadillan Seville yakking on your cell phone?


I and my friends think there should be an open season on mopeds. In most cases If you are not allowed to drive that should mean exactly that.


I have never ridden a motorcycle or moped.  I would not let my two boys own or ride them either. And I have never lost my license or been given a DUI.  Having said that, I have always felt moped operators (those with suspended or revoked licenses) should be allowed, with a special permit, to operate a moped in order to get to and from work.  Other moped operators should be licensed in accordance with current legislation now being considered in the legislature.


I agree no memo pads on the Road


The piece of legislation you mention is one that is much needed.

As I understand it driving is a PRIVILEGE not a right. 

If you screw up and get a DUI then you need to pay your debt to society, cause YOU gotcaught..

If you lose your driving privilege, your fault not mine. 

As a licensed driver I must register, inspect, insure, pay taxes and not violate the law so I can maintain the privilege of operating a motor vehicle on the roadways. 

Why should someone who does none of these things be allowed to operate a motor vehicle on the same roadway, because they '...made a mistake and got a DUI...'? 

Face it, They are a safety risk, they do not move with the speed of traffic, they have no insurance and some do not ride in a safe manner.

Cases I have seen

 Saw one switch from the right shoulder to the left turn lane, no hand signal, not even glance over his shoulder to check traffic.

 Saw one riding laying down with his feet up on the rear turnsignals, intentionally obstructing traffic.

 Saw one  with 2 (large) riders on it, bearly able to keep up speed, followed them to the ABC store.

 Saw one with a full face (motocross) helmet that he was not wearing properly,  try to stop, the helmet slipped over his eyes obstructing his view. He stopped in the traffic lane. Had I not stopped he would have run into me.

My question is...... If I had hit him or he hit me, who would be liable for the damage and at fault for the incident?


Omg!!!! I can't believe y'all are talking about the scooter/mopeds. I and a lot of other folks encounter them on a daily basis and I can't believe they are allowed to travel in the middle of the road with no tag or insurance.


I whole heartedly agree. I am a local emergency responder and have been to many,many accidents involving these vehicles. Most often it is the rider at fault, they are injured and cause damage to other peoples property of which there is no recourse but to sue the rider in civil court. If they had anything to begin with they wouldn't be on a scooter in the first place. In addition as an avid motorcycle rider, I have to have a special license, pay luxury tax on the motorcycle, maintain at least liability insurance on it as well as licensing fees. Oh and there is the highway use tax and annual inspections for me to have the priviledge of using the roadways. They pay none of that. I see scooter riders everyday riding in such a manner that completely disobeys traffic laws, they hold up traffic by riding in the center of lanes, and last week I saw a guy on a scooter riding between the rows of cars on South College rd in front of Jimbos restaurant. They should be banned from the roadways period!


I agree with you 100%.

I wrote to you about a year ago regarding mopeds, and referred to them as obstacles.

I am glad to see momentum on this subject.

I am not opposed to them, but I am opposed to the use and misuse.

They do need to be inspected, insured, licensed, and the driver must be licensed, and they must be able to keep up with traffic on the road that they share, or if they cannot, then they should not be allowed on those roads. – It's as simple as that, and is very cut and dry, and it makes the most sense, and creates a safety in the use of mopeds.

Thanx for your comments and follow-through on this subject.  You are "right on the money"

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