Moped deaths continue to rise in South Carolina - - Columbia, South Carolina

Moped deaths continue to rise in South Carolina


It is an increasingly common scene in South Carolina: the crumpled wreckage of a moped or motor scooter -- sometimes left on the roadway after a rider has lost control.

Other times, it the result of violent impact with a much larger vehicle.

South Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Kelly Hughes says more people are riding mopeds statewide which is leading to more moped bloodshed.

"Because of gas prices and other, you know, economical issues, we have more moped-slash-scooters on the roadway," said Hughes. "When you have more of those on the roadway, you have a better chance of incidents occurring with the rest of the motoring public that are driving larger vehicles."

New figures from the state Department of Public Safety show steady increases in moped-related fatalities over the last three years. In 2010, 21 people were killed and 610 were injured. In 2011, 24 people were killed and 635 were hurt.

Until Monday, the 2012 numbers had 32 persons killed, with injuries dropping significantly, though it's not clear why. But on Tuesday, there is word that a man riding a moped in Edgefield County had been hit and killed in a collision with an SUV.

State law allows mopeds to be used by drivers as young as 14. Many riders have no valid licenses of any kind, no registration is required, and only riders under age 21 are required to wear helmets.

Hughes says other drivers often have a hard time seeing and determining the speed of mopeds, especially as they approach from behind.

"Many times the motorist that's closing in on the moped, they're closing in at a much quicker speed than they realize. They see the light, they see the moped, but they don't realize that they're coming up on it so quick and when they do realize it, it's kind of late to react," said Hughes.

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