For years, North Carolina law has treated mopeds a lot like bicycles. You could buy a moped or scooter and drive it on the roads without needing to register the vehicle, get a license, buy insurance or display a tag. However, effective July 1, 2015, the state will begin treating mopeds more like motorcycles.
In August, the governor signed a bill (HB1145) into law requiring the annual registration of mopeds with the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The owner will have to pay a standard $18 motorcycle registration fee and operating an unregistered moped will be considered a Class 2 misdemeanor violation.
After some wrangling over initially requiring moped insurance, H1145 passed in its final form in the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support. The final bill dropped the insurance requirement and called only for a study of the feasibility of requiring insurance for unlicensed moped operators.
“All other motorists on the road are required to have these in place, but yet, we allow this type of vehicle on the roadway that doesn’t have to have any of that,” said Marion Police Chief Allen Lawrence. “We have responded to several crashes involving mopeds. Unfortunately, what ends up happening, regardless if the moped is the contributing factor, it ends up being covered by the motorist if they have the uninsured motorist coverage, and to me that’s just not right.”1
The Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee will review traffic and accident statistics and report its recommendations to the 2015 General Assembly.