Scoot on over…

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Moped Photo by @little.shell.photography
Photo by @little.shell.photography

…and let us tell you about the new moped laws

Low-speed vehicles– such as mopeds + golf carts are popular in the Lowcountry among college students and beachgoers because of their low cost, high fuel efficiency, + small size. Why bother trying to lug around your cooler, beach chair, + umbrella when you can drive right up to the sand?

But, despite their convenience golf carts + mopeds can be dangerous when sharing roads with trucks + cars. Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of low-speed vehicle-related traffic incidents. South Carolina’s Department of Transportation has reported more than 200 fatalities involving mopeds + golf carts over the past seven years.

To help combat the safety concerns, new golf cart + moped regulations went into effect on Nov. 19.

Up until this point, law enforcement officers have been unable to properly enforce traffic laws on drivers of low-speed vehiclesincluding  DUI violationsbecause they are not classified in the same category as regular cars + trucks.

The new bill, signed into law by Gov. Henry McMaster last year, seeks to address these issues by increasing safety measures + punishments for violations.

So, if you own a golf cart, moped, or both– you’ll want to make sure you now have the proper permits + are well-versed in the new regulations.

Golf cart laws

  • In order to operate a golf cart the driver must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license and proof of liability insurance.
  • Drivers must remain within a four-mile radius of their homeor the address the vehicle is registered under.
  • Golf carts can only be driven during daylight hours– between 5 a.m.- 6 p.m. during the winter + 5 a.m.- 8 p.m. during the summer.
  • Golf carts can only be driven on roadways with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

What’s new?

  • The vehicle must be registered with the S.C. DMV and display a state permit decal.
  • Permits must be replaced every five yearsor at the time the permit holder changes their address.
  • Violations of any golf cart regulation will be classified as a misdemeanor.
  • Drivers who break the laws can be fined up to $100 or up to 30 days in jail.

Moped laws

  • Drivers must have a valid moped operator’s license or driver’s license.
  • Drivers must remain at a speed of 35 mph or less.
  • Mopeds can only be driven on roadways with a speed limit of 55 mph or less.
  • Drivers must stay in the far right lane on roadwaysunless making a left turn.
  • Vehicles must have operational brake lights, headlights, and at least one rearview mirror.
  • Mopeds should not be used to carry more than one riderunless designed to.

What’s new?

  • Moped owners must register their vehicle with the S.C. DMV + display a state license plate.
  • You must be at least 15 years old to qualify for a moped license.
  • Drivers under 21 must wear a helmet when operating a moped.
  • Drivers who violate any regulation can be fined up to $200 or 30 days in jail.

Additionally, Golf cart + moped drivers are now subject to all state traffic laws. Meaning: drivers will be ticketed if they are caught speeding, ignoring street signs, driving under the influence, etc.

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Personally, I think golf carts + mopeds are a great way to get around… especially in a city where finding a good parking spot can be as exciting as winning on a scratch-off ticket.

What are your thoughts on the new regulations? Do you think they will help make our roads safer? Let us know in the comments below.

– Gaby + Justine