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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ind. Law - "Moped rider's Catch-22"; also, golf carts legal in South Carolina

Mopeds. Frank Gray of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has a column today, not about golf carts, but about another confused area of Indiana traffic law, that involving the moped. Some quotes:

The debate over what constitutes a moped and whether you need a license to ride one has been going on for years.

Judging from the case of Michael Barton, the debate still isn’t settled.

Barton rides a moped – yes, because he lost his license. He got his first DWI the night he graduated from high school in 1979 and later got others. He was caught driving a work truck with a suspended license, and that was turned into a lifetime suspension.

Today, Barton doesn’t drink anymore. He quit in 2000, and his life has changed dramatically. He has a nice house and a good job. It’s amazing how much money you have when you don’t drink, he says.

But he can’t drive, so he gets to work on a moped, a bike with a 49-cubic-centimeter engine. It is the type of bike you couldn’t get a license for if you tried because the Bureau of Motor Vehicles doesn’t license them.

Last week, though, on the way to work, he was stopped by a state trooper. Barton says he tried to explain that the bike was only 49 cc and didn’t need to be licensed, and that he didn’t need a license to drive it.

No, he was told, it’s a motorcycle, and Barton was given a ticket for driving an unlicensed vehicle and another ticket for being a habitual traffic offender. He was handcuffed and hauled to jail, where he spent 10 hours before his wife, who was able to pick up the moped, bailed him out.

He then hired a lawyer and went to court the next day, where the tickets were dismissed.

So it turned out OK for Barton, though he’s out the money for the lawyer and missed a day of work. But it makes him angry. The BMV won’t license bikes with 49-cubic-centimeter engines, so how can he get a ticket for driving one without a license plate?

He complained to the Indiana State Police but got a letter in response saying the trooper was operating within department standards.

Barton asks: "How can you get a ticket for riding a machine without a license when you can’t get a license for it?"

Golf carts. The above is reminiscent of the ILB entry August 20th, which references state police arrests of golf cart drivers, where the driver was licensed, but the golf carts were not (and apparently could not be) registered by BMV.

South Carolina's BMV does register golf carts, according to this story yesterday in the North Carolina State. From a side-bar:

New “street-legal” golf carts — also known as low-speed vehicles — with extra safety features that expand their

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Moped Laws in SC

2012-01-23 22:19:15 by Swol

I can't post links yet so look it up: SECTION 56-1-1710. This covers mopeds. Let it be clear that you do indeed need at least a regular driver's license or lacking that, a moped driver's license.
I constantly see sellers on CL saying you don't need a license to operate a moped. Not True.
Sellers also say that you don't need to register a moped. Also not true. If you get pulled over wi...e your moped impounded until it is determined that it isn't stolen. If they run the VIN numbers and it comes back in someone else's name, would you trust that person to be truthful and say it isn't theirs? If a seller doesn't offer a bill of sale AND a title to go with the moped, then walk away from the deal

It's my understanding that the dividing line

2009-08-19 14:24:14 by fujin74

Between public drunk and DUI is the number of CCs of the moped. If it's 50cc motor or less, it's considered a bicycle, doesn't require a license nor registration to operate it, thus doesn't warrant a DUI charge.
It wouldn't surprise me though if SC or any other state changed its laws to make drunk moped driving a DUI regardless of the size of the motor.

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