TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Indiana is a step closer to enforcing new regulations for moped riders.
The Indiana Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill requiring moped riders to have more of the same requirements as those who drive cars.
For years mopeds and scooters have zoomed around Indiana roads with little to no regulation.
“They’re getting in accidents. We had one in the county not to long ago where a guy got killed riding a moped, and he was also suspended for alcohol related offenses,” says Chief John Plasse, with the Terre Haute Police Department.
Local law enforcement has taken steps to monitor the motorbikes in Terre Haute.
“We have them register by city ordinance. Citizens of the city have to register, and that’s helped us track down one’s that are stolen,” says Chief Plasse.
A new bill goes even further.
Mopeds with a cylinder capacity over 50 cubic centimeters must have a valid license, proof of insurance, and registered license plates.
Drivers with a scooter under the limit must pass a test on traffic rules and have a valid state id.
“Anything that they can do to make them a better operator is positive, it will make them safer out there,” says Chief Plasse.
With those in work release programs depending on mopeds as their main form of transportation, Bill Watson, Executive Director of Vigo County Community Corrections, fears insurance costs could have a negative impact.
“If its added cost to them in some way to those that already have a limited income potential that’s kind of a drawback for that population,” says Watson.
The regulations would still allow the more than 550,000 Hoosiers who cannot drive a car because of a suspended license to ride a moped.
Watson says while he understands the need for more regulations he adds those is the work release program need to get to and from their jobs.
“If someone’s trying to go to work everyday and earn an honest living that may have lost their license and they cannot afford to get a car again are we really helping them out by saying ok now we’re going to cut of your chance to continue your livelihood,” says Watson.
While the bill is intended to help law enforcement monitor mopeds, some still question, will the new regulations be strict enough to make roads safer?
“If you’re not allowed to drive a motor vehicle, for whatever reason, then you shouldn’t be allowed to drive a moped, that’s where we’ve had some of the problems,” says Chief Plasse.
The new regulations will take effect on July 1st if Governor Mike Pence signs the bill into law.