Mopeds are a great way to get around in South Carolina. They allow riders to enjoy the outdoors. They are better for the environment than other types of vehicles. And they are also cheaper to maintain. However, it is important that all moped riders understand that laws pertain to these vehicles, and riders must follow those laws.
Mopeds in South Carolina must be registered and have a license plate, according to laws that went into effect on November 19, 2018. Having a title for a moped is optional. You are also not required to carry insurance for a moped. Individuals that own mopeds are also not required to pay property tax in the county where they live.
Additionally, when a moped rider is involved in an accident that is someone else’s fault, the rider has a right to file a claim for compensation. A South Carolina moped accident lawyer at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC, can guide you through the process and pursue all damages that you are due. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you.
What Is Considered a Moped in South Carolina?
South Carolina law puts mopeds in two categories. First, the law recognizes models that are equipped with pedals and propelled by a person. The second type of moped are models that lack pedals and are propelled by a motor. That motor cannot exceed two-brake horsepower and exceed speeds of 30 mph. Models that are equipped with a motor must function automatically and not require the operator to shift or clutch once the system has started. A moped in South Carolina can have either two or three wheels.
Mopeds are treated quite differently than motorcycles in the state. As such, they also have very different laws than motorcycles. So, it is important to know and understand those laws.
Do You Need a License to Drive a Moped in South Carolina?
Under South Carolina law, driver’s licenses are required to ride a moped. A person can hold any type of license. So, it does not have to be specific for motorcycles or any other vehicle. As long as a person is legally allowed to operate any type of vehicle in the state, that person can also operate a moped.
Some scooters are also classified as mopeds in South Carolina. When this is the case, and a scooter has an engine that is over 50 cubic centimeters (cc), operators must also carry a valid license. This license, too, can be for any class of vehicle and does not need to be for a certain type of vehicle. Electric bicycles are considered a different type of vehicle altogether. They do not require a license to operate.
Although a license is required to operate a moped in South Carolina, you do not have to take a skills test to determine if you are qualified. However, moped riders do have to take a skills test for whatever type of license they are applying for. To qualify for a driver’s license, operators do not have to take only a skills test. However, they must also meet other requirements. Those requirements include providing proof of identity, a Social Security number, proof of a physical address and proof of a legal name change (if applicable).
It is also important to understand that motor scooters are not the same thing as mopeds under South Carolina law. To operate a motor scooter, a person must hold a motorcycle license.
If You Ride a Moped, Do You Need to Wear a Helmet?
In South Carolina, all moped operators that are younger than 21 years of age must wear a helmet approved by the Department of Highways and Public Transportation. The helmet must have either a neck or chin strap and must have reflectors on both sides that make the operator more visible. These laws mirror the motorcycle helmet laws in the state.
Although not all moped operators are required to wear a helmet in South Carolina, it is still recommended that all operators wear a helmet while they are on their moped. Moped accidents have the potential to be just as severe as motorcycle accidents. When they occur, moped operators may be thrown from their vehicle. So, the potential for head injuries can be high.
Head injuries are some of the most severe injuries a person can suffer in an accident. When they are severe enough, these injuries can be life-changing. Even when a full recovery is possible, it can still take weeks or months. A helmet is the best way to help to prevent these injuries and keep yourself safe when operating a moped.
Do You Need Moped Insurance?
In South Carolina, moped operators are not required by law to purchase insurance for the vehicle. However, when individuals take out a loan to purchase their moped, the lender will usually require that they also purchase insurance so that the moped can be paid for if it is involved in an accident and damaged beyond the point of repair.
Although moped operators are not required to purchase insurance by law, even when someone buys a moped outright, it is still wise to purchase insurance for it. When moped operators are in an accident that is their fault, injured individuals can hold the moped operators liable for paying compensation for their injuries. When moped operators are backed by insurance, this can provide the coverage they need so they do not have to pay those costs out of their own pocket.
Injured in a Moped Accident? Call Our Personal Injury Lawyers in South Carolina
Whether you are a moped operator that has been injured in a crash, or you were hurt by a moped operator, it is important that you speak to a South Carolina personal injury lawyer. At McKinney, Tucker & Lemel LLC, we know how to hold responsible parties liable for paying the compensation that their victims need and deserve. We will conduct an investigation to determine who was at fault, and we will deal with the insurance company on your behalf while you focus on getting better. Contact us today and allow us to review your moped accident case in a free consultation.
After he graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1987, Jim Tucker joined the law firm of McKinney, Givens & Millar in Rock Hill. He has remained with successor firms at the same location ever since while focusing his practice in the areas of family law and personal injury law. Jim is licensed in South Carolina and North Carolina, and he represents clients in both states at the trial and appellate levels. Jim is also a certified mediator and a highly active member of several state and local legal organizations who once served as President of the York County Bar Association.