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New Hope for Those Living With Spinal Cord Injuries

Motorcycle accidents generally occur because other drivers do not see motorcycles until it is too late. Because motorcycles weigh significantly less than cars and offer much less physical protection in an accident, car-motorcycle collisions are often fatal for the motorcyclist.

Even worse is the situation when the accident involves a car and a moped. A moped is smaller, slower (usually no faster than 25 mph) and quieter than a motorcycle, and offers even less protection than a motorcycle in the event of a collision.

Moped safety is an increasing problem. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says annual moped fatalities doubled – from 48 to 96 -between 2005 and 2009. Despite the increasing problem, the NHTSA still exempts most electric mopeds from Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Changes in Moped Regulations?

National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) spokesperson Anne Tiegan says that in 2010, 12 states either passed or had pending legislation aimed at reducing the number of moped fatalities. Surprisingly, much of the legislation is related to transportation basics, such as licensing and the use of helmets.

Despite a moped’s potential for danger and death, over 30 states do not require a driver’s license to drive a moped, and some do not require helmets. In fact, uniform moped regulations are so lacking that if one were to drive a moped while intoxicated in South Carolina, he or she could not be cited with drunk driving because a moped does not fall within the state’s DUI definition of “motor vehicle.”

Impact on Injured Riders

In addition to basic legislation, some states are looking at new laws for mopeds aimed at safety. These safety laws propose to hold riders to higher standards, and failing to meet those standards could be considered negligence when evaluating who is at fault for a rider’s injuries in the event of an accident. In a state with contributory negligence laws, in which an injured party will be denied relief if they were even 1 percent at fault, the injured party would be completely barred from recovery.

In a pure comparative negligence state, like California, a percentage of fault is assigned to each party and the injured party’s recovery is reduced by their percentage of fault in the accident. Unless specified by statute, failure to wear a helmet or failure to use proper lighting or reflectors can all be considered negligence if the law requires such.

New laws protecting moped riders are double-edged swords. Because whether a moped rider could be considered partially negligent in an accident, it is important to have competent legal counsel to help an injured party. If you or a loved one has been injured in a moped accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your situation.

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