Sen. Newman's Moped Bill Goes to Gov.'s Desk
Lynchburg, VA - Moped drivers, listen up! New rules of the road could be coming around the corner for you after a series of recent accidents.
Remember, just this week, a moped driver died in Lynchburg when he ran into the back of a Jeep. These kinds of accidents caught the attention of politicians in Richmond, including Lynchburg Senator Steve Newman.
Sen. Newman wanted a moped law that targeted two things: safety and regulations that are standard across the Commonwealth.
Joel Johnson has two mopeds on his Honda Suzuki of Lynchburg showroom floor and dozens more in the back. Their popularity is gaining speed.
"I think as gas prices continue to increase here in the states, it's going to become more common. You go to larger cities here in the states, it is a lot more common," said Johnson.
And as mopeds hit our roads more and more mixing with bigger cars and trucks, Sen. Newman thought moped rules needed a bit of a tune-up.
"This was a conservative, compromise bill," said Newman.
Newman took the wheel, getting legislation through the House and Senate. Some parts of the bill, like requiring safety gear, are familiar to Lynchburg moped drivers. But, two parts are brand new: One, requiring drivers to title and register their moped with the DMV. And two, carry a government-issued photo I.D. The I.D. does not have to be a valid driver's license, securing mopeds' status as a cheaper alternative to owning a car.
"There are certain people out there who are great Virginians that can't afford a vehicle, or just can't get to work, but they want to better themselves. And this bill, I think, is the right balance with those two needs," said Sen. Newman.
In the moped world, crime is another concern.
"A lot of theft. Theft is a big issue with scooters across the whole state," said Johnson.
But, getting the moped titled and registered with the DMV means if it's stolen, there's at least a chance law enforcement could find it again just like a car.
There are things this moped bill does not do. Drivers will not have to get insurance, a safety inspection or pay personal property taxes on them.