Opinion

The DMV vs. mopeds

From an editorial Monday in the Fayetteville Observer:

Slow-speed, low-powered mopeds appear born to be mild, but the Department of Motor Vehicles is seeking tougher regulations.

From hearings last week, the General Assembly may go along with some of what DMV wants, such as requiring insurance. Moped drivers don’t fare well in multi-vehicle collisions but can still cause serious injury to other drivers and damage to their vehicles. Requiring insurance protects other motorists financially.

But legislators seem reluctant to enact many of DMV’s proposals. There’s little secret that drivers who have lost their licenses for DWIs often turn to mopeds, a practice that DMV wants to ban. But lawmakers question this move, pointing out that many people would be left with little other option to get to work. Further marginalizing those who are struggling with addiction isn’t a good idea.

DMV also wants to ban mopeds from highways with speed limits higher than 45 miles per hour. This, too, would leave some people, especially in rural areas, with no way to get to work.

Too much of DMV’s thinking seems punitive. Bicycles also are low-speed, but “share the road” remains the law. Having reasonable rules should be possible without harassing moped owners.

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