The S.C. House Tuesday approved requiring moped drivers to register with the Department of Motor Vehicles, buy new moped license plates and wear a reflective vest at night.
The proposal, approved 75-29, also would raise the minimum age to drive a moped to 15 from 14, require moped riders younger than 21 to wear a helmet and ensure mopeds are covered by drunken-driving laws.
“The bill is meant to save lives,” said state Rep. Bill Crosby, R-Charleston, whose proposal was tweaked several times to alleviate concerns that it burdens poor S.C. residents. “I hate we have to change it here and there in so many ways to satisfy certain people. But if we can get something now that gets most of the heart of the bill through ... it’s going to be better for the people on the moped. They’ll be protected somewhat.”
The House vote is the latest victory in a years-long effort to tighten S.C. laws governing mopeds, the slow-moving, two-wheeled scooters that are popular among college students and the rural poor.
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The S.C. Senate unanimously passed a similar bill in January, but not before striking the reflective-vest requirement. That bill now is sitting in a House committee.