As drivers get creative with their transportation options and try to use less gas, more are trying out mopeds and electric scooters as alternatives to bigger vehicles, especially in busy cities where smaller vehicles can make getting around a lot easier.
Unfortunately, this has also meant a spike in visits involving electric scooters and mopeds to the ER. Moped drivers, like bicyclists or motorcyclists, are far more vulnerable than other drivers because of the lack of protection. They’re not secured in or to their vehicle, so any kind of accident can quickly become serious.
It’s hard to determine exactly how often these accidents happen because traffic statistics don’t always count them or clearly differentiate them from other accidents involving unsecured or vulnerable drivers. Not every accident with a moped is going to lead to a report being filed and having it added to the statistics, even if the moped driver is possibly injured.
Nevertheless, law enforcement and politicians have been taking steps to increase safety for mopeds on the road in response to the rise in accidents. South Carolina has passed laws to regulate the use of mopeds, especially among young people who might not yet be old enough for a driver’s license.
Taking a Moped on the Road
Mopeds and scooters are small, slow vehicles that can’t go fast enough to get on the highway. They can be easy and convenient vehicles for getting around a neighborhood or downtown area and enjoying the air. Even on a relaxed neighborhood street, however, you’ve got to be vigilant and watch out for other cars around you.
Not every driver is going to be paying careful attention to the road and watching for small vehicles like yours. A momentary mistake or a distracted driver looking the other way can cause moped accidents with long-lasting consequences for your life.
There’s only so much you can do to protect yourself from negligent drivers, however. Be defensive, avoid taking the moped out on the road at night, and always wear protective gear.
Problems with Moped Safety
All moped crashes can be dangerous, but certain risk factors make death or serious injury more likely. Wearing a helmet while on your moped isn’t always the normal thing to do, but it’s smart for keeping yourself safe. Alcohol or drug use by anyone involved makes an accident dramatically more likely.
According to a scientific study of traffic data from accidents in Florida by the National Institutes of Health, cars driving at high speed or accidents in high-speed zones are more likely to cause fatalities. Accidents on roads with four or more lanes or with low-light conditions are also more likely to cause death or a debilitating injury.
More than 90% of moped drivers in crashes documented by the study were uninsured, which can make it even harder for someone to recover well after an accident. Until local governments and traffic regulations significantly improve road safety for small-vehicle drivers, you may want to practice extra caution when driving a scooter or moped.