Summer brings the perfect opportunity to make use of some of the things that have had to sit in the garage over the winter. For many people, one of those things is a moped or scooter. With concerns about gas prices and the environment, mopeds have become more popular in recent years, especially when it comes to running local errands.
Motorcycle vs Moped Accidents
Like a motorcycle, mopeds are motorized vehicles that travel on two wheels. Most mopeds travel at approximately 30 mph, which is fitting for most residential neighborhoods. They are not allowed on interstate highways, like motorcycles are, and since they are smaller than motorcycles and can be prone to accidents even more so than motorcycles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2007 overall motorcycles, including mopeds were 37 times more likely to die in a traffic crash than those in a passenger vehicle, and were nine times more likely to suffer an injury.
Clearly, a person riding a moped is more vulnerable than others on the road, so taking the proper precautions are important in order to reduce the risk of injury. This means being aware of some of the realities surrounding the attitude and awareness of other drivers when it comes to mopeds or motorcycles as well as following recommended and/or required safety procedures when heading out on the moped.
Obey Traffic Laws
Since most people think of a moped as a scaled down version of a motorcycle, some people interpret that fact as license to obey a scaled down version of traffic laws, when if anything they should be even more attentive to traffic laws. Make sure to stop at all stop signs and red lights– even when there is a provision stating that you are not required to stop if your vehicle is under a certain weight. Many states require that moped and scooter riders stay at least three feet from the center line, even when making a left turn. Whether or not this is true where you are riding it is a good practice to get into. You should also be sure to use all necessary signals in an attempt to keep other drivers and pedestrians aware of your intentions on the road.
Be Extra Watchful
We’ve all seen those bumper stickers that say, “Start Seeing Motorcycles.” This goes double for mopeds and scooters. Between drivers being distracted, and the mere fact that a lot of drivers do not expect to see anyone else on the road other than those in passenger vehicles means you will not always get the right of way, even when you should.
No matter what you’re driving, it is a good idea to drive defensively, but when you are driving something that leaves you less protected, such as a moped, this is especially important. If your choice is between being right or being alive, alive is always the better option.
Wear Protective Clothing
Yes, there’s something romantic about “the wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth” but truthfully that can be somewhat distracting and can make it harder to drive to the best of your ability. Wearing a jacket, or even longer sleeves can protect you from flying gravel or debris. Full length pants are also preferable over shorts in order to prevent being struck or burned. Goggles and a helmet are also advisable, whether the law requires them or not.
When a Moped Accident Happens
If you are in a moped accident, hopefully you will be able to escape serious injury. If this is the case it is important to communicate with the officer on the scene and let them know as many details as possible so that your side of the story is on record. As soon as you are able, it is also important to speak with a personal injury attorney.
Even if your insurance company, or the insurance company of another driver that may have been involved , seems to be cooperative in offering you a settlement, it is important that an attorney verifies that they are offering everything you need. At times, an initial offer can sound as if it is plenty, but other costs creep up, such as lost wages or long term care, and the moped accident winds up setting you back not only physically, but financially as well.
If you’ve been in a a moped accident and haven’t talked to a personal injury attorney, it’s a good idea to talk to one and see what can be done. If you’ve lost a loved one, or have a family member who is injured too severely to pursue their own case, it is also a good idea to do what you can to help them move forward on a case. That way the injured person will have the best possible chance at getting the compensation they deserve.