State Lawmakers at Loggerheads Over Insurance Mandate in Moped Bill

A few weeks ago, our blog discussed how lawmakers here in North Carolina were currently considering legislation that, if passed, would require anyone who owns a moped to not only register it with the Division of Motor Vehicles, but also obtain insurance, much like they would with a motorcycle.

In recent developments, while the moped bill passed the state Senate, it was voted down in the state House of Representatives by a margin of 51-54 last week. This development, say experts, was perhaps not altogether unexpected given that the House’s prior version of the bill contained only the registration requirement.

While almost all lawmakers agree that a moped registration requirement — which would likely result in anywhere from $15-$22 for a registration fee and $40 for title fee — is necessary to assist law enforcement officials, they have fundamental disagreements to a moped insurance mandate.

Specifically, proponents of the insurance mandate in the House argue that the bill is all about creating accountability, as the state as seen a spate of motor vehicle accidents caused by mopeds in which victims have been forced to pick up the costs themselves.

Opponents in the House, however, cite a multitude of concerns, including what some lawmakers have characterized as a complete lack of evidence that the state’s estimated 17,000 mopeds — defined under state law as two-wheeled vehicles whose engine size does not exceed 50cc’s — have exceedingly high accident rates.

“I can’t legislate on ‘ifs,”’ said Rep. Marilyn Avila (R-Wake). “For me anecdotes do not equal data and data is what I need to make my decision.”

Still other lawmakers in the House have argued that an insurance mandate would constitute an undue financial hardship for many low-income people who use their mopeds as their primary mode of transportation.

For their part, moped dealers have also spoken out against the bill, arguing that the insurance mandate would hurt their sales and cause general financial woes.

It remains to be seen what will transpire in a planned conference committee convened to discuss the possibility of reaching a compromise.

Stay tuned for updates …

Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you suffered serious injuries in a moped accident, motorcycle accident or any other kind of motor vehicle accident caused by the reckless actions of another.