How Safe Are Mopeds?

July 26, 2016

Mopeds are two-wheeled motorized vehicles that are similar to motorcycles. Mopeds are also sometimes called scooters. By law in South Carolina, mopeds cannot have motors that are larger than 50ccs and cannot travel at a speed greater than 30 mph. Mopeds are allowed to be driven on streets in South Carolina as long as the proper rules are followed.

Starting in February, 2017, South Carolina will define mopeds as motor vehicles. This means that they will be subject to the same laws and requirements as other motor vehicles that are driven in the state. These changes are being made in an effort to try to improve safety and reduce the number of accidents that occur with mopeds.

Licensing and Titling of Mopeds

Mopeds are commonly driven both off road as well as on city streets. As legal forms of transportation, owners must produce registration and title for their mopeds if requested by the police. Licensing and titling of mopeds must be done through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, SCDMV. When mopeds are defined as motor vehicles they must be properly registered with the state. They must also be insured, just like other forms of transportation. Moped owners and drivers must carry liability insurance.

Driver’s License

Moped drivers should have a regular driver’s license. However, you are allowed to drive a moped without a driver’s license as long as you get a special operator’s license for mopeds. Just like a standard driver’s license, a moped license can be suspended or even revoked for those guilty of driving offenses. The same rules for driving apply to both standard and moped licenses. For example, if a moped driver is found guilty of DUI, his license will be suspended.

Accidents with Mopeds

Accidents with mopeds occur regularly. During last year alone there were 50 people who died as a result of moped-related accidents. Like motorcycle accidents, crashes with mopeds can cause very serious injuries or death. Mopeds are even smaller in size than most motorcycles, making them difficult for other drivers to see. They are safest when driven on side streets and on small trips on well-maintained streets.

Moped Safety

Mopeds, like motorcycles, offer little protection to the rider. When an accident happens, it can cause serious injuries or even death. There are some important safety tips for moped riders. These include:

  • Wear a helmet – Wearing a helmet helps to protect against head injuries, the number one most serious injury in a moped or motorcycle accident.


  • Wear a reflective vest – A reflective vest will be required by law in South Carolina.


  • Drive slowly – The legal speed limit for mopeds to drive on streets is 35 mph, regardless of the posted speed limit.


  • Follow the laws – Special laws have been put in place to protect the safety of moped drivers.


  • Wear proper gear – Wear clothing and other gear that is recommended to protect against injuries.


  • Drive defensively – Make sure that you are constantly on the lookout for traffic because you are driving a vehicle that is smaller than most.


Moped riders should be more careful than other drivers because they may not always been seen, especially in  traffic.

DOT Approved Gear

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) recommends that motorcycle and moped drivers wear specific types of clothing and protective gear while riding. Helmets should be worn at all times while riding on a moped and should be DOT approved. It is also recommended that drivers wear long-sleeved jackets, long pants, and closed toe shoes. Do not wear sandals while riding on a moped. The shoes should preferably cover the ankle, such as boots do.

Moped Laws

Moped laws are designed to protect drivers from accidents and from serious injuries should a crash occur. Mopeds are subject to all the regular rules of the road that are applicable to drivers of all vehicles. However, there are some rules that apply specifically to mopeds.

  • Mopeds must drive no faster than 35 mph.
  • Mopeds are not allowed on highways or roads with a speed limit of 55 mph.
  • Mopeds are allowed to cross roads where the speed limit of the crossroad is 55 mph.
  • Moped drivers must have a driver’s license or moped license.
  • Moped drivers must be insured.
  • Moped drivers must wear reflective vests.


Drivers should stay up-to-date on the rules and laws that pertain to mopeds because they may change from time to time.

Injuries Caused by Moped Accidents

Some of the injuries that may occur when a moped gets into an accident with another vehicle may be serious. They may include:

  • Head trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Bruises and scrapes
  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Cuts


Often, injuries while on a moped can be severe. Head trauma, for example, may consist of a concussion or brain injuries. Some of the injuries could cause permanent disabilities. Broken bones could require surgery and further medical treatment and rehabilitation. Anyone who is injured while riding on a moped should get checked out at a hospital, even if they do not feel hurt at the time. Some severe injuries may not always be present immediately following a crash.

Resolving Mopeds Accidents

Moped accidents can cause severe and sometimes lasting injuries. If you are involved in a moped accident, it is important that you make a police report and seek medical treatment. You may be entitled to collect damages that include such things as medical costs, rehabilitation treatment expenses, long-term care costs. Additionally, you may receive money for pain and suffering and lost wages as well as legal fees. Those who are disabled as a result of a serious moped accident may require lifelong treatment and their medical expenses could easily reach into the millions of dollars. These costs should be covered by the responsible party.

If you or a loved one were hurt in a moped accident that was not your fault, contact the experienced auto accident legal team in Columbia at Connell Law Firm to discuss your case.