A Senate committee added a provision requiring moped drivers to buy liability insurance to House Bill 1145 and then approved the bill.
The House had removed that provision from the bill before sending it to the Senate. The bill also requires moped drivers to register the vehicles with the Division of Motor Vehicles by July 1, 2015.
Currently mopeds are not required to be registered or insured, and they are not subject to property tax. Under the bill, moped owners would pay a $15 registration fee (the same as motorcyclists) and they would have to prove that their moped was designed and manufactured for highway use by providing a certificate of origin.
Rep. Phil Shephard, a Republican from Jacksonville and the main sponsor of the bill, said it would help identify mopeds that are involved in accidents and crimes. Rep. Rayne Brown, also a sponsor, said mopeds are increasingly a problem in Davidson County, which she represents.
“I get bombarded with people who have had property damage inflicted on them because these guys are not insured and not able, even though they’re liable, to pay and reimburse,” said Brown, a Republican from Lexington.
Brown noted that the bill does not require a moped driver to have a driver’s license. Opponents of the bill have said it targets low-income drivers who rely on mopeds as a primary form of transportation to and from work.
Tim Lucas, with the North Carolina Rate Bureau, which makes rate requests for auto insurers in the state, said premiums for moped owners would cost about $65 annually for experienced drivers with no traffic offenses. Rates would be higher for inexperienced drivers or those with traffic offenses.
Sen. Floyd McKissick, a Democrat from Durham, said he was unsure about the need for the bill because of a lack of data about how many mopeds are involved in accidents.
The committee approved an amendment requiring a study of accident and driving patterns of mopeds to be conducted before the end of the year.
HB 1145 has passed three readings in the House. A Senate vote is expected this week. If approved it would go back to the House for concurrence on the change.