Myrtle Beach Cracks Down on Rented Mopeds
The ever-popular moped may be a fun and relatively inexpensive way to get around in South Carolina, but there can be a significant downside to the little vehicles. The Greenville News reports that 2015 saw a 57 percent jump in fatalities for moped riders involved in crashes. The increasing death toll has prompted legislation aimed directly at mopeds and their operators.
One such law, detailed by The Island Packet, recently passed in Myrtle Beach. The legislation targets businesses that rent vehicles with relatively low speeds, such as golf carts, scooters, and of course mopeds. The ordinance will require companies to provide Myrtle Beach law enforcement with inventories of their vehicles, and to register and inspect each vehicle in their rental fleets.
Tom Ellenburg, Myrtle Beach’s attorney and the legislation’s author, says South Carolina law creates “operational limitations” that have been violated by the increasing numbers of mopeds operated on state roads. He says the new law will address this concern, as well as respond to complaints the city has received about such things as reckless or negligent moped use, and people driving golf carts at night.
Attorney Jack Scoville has doubts about the city’s actions. Scoville, whose client is a large rental company in the area, had requested that final approval of the ordinance be postponed. He cited concerns that the new legislation may not be in compliance with state laws already on the books. He also suggested that the burdens imposed by the ordinance may shutter smaller businesses.
Despite objections, the law was lauded by city leaders for its safety focus and won final approval on Tuesday. When it takes effect on May 15, businesses that rent mopeds and other slow-moving vehicles will have to do the following:
- Deny rental to anyone deemed incapacitated or incompetent due to physical or mental incapacity, drugs, alcohol, or age
- Hang signs that have been approved by the city, displaying the relevant laws governing operation of low-speed vehicles
- Teach operation of the rentals to customers before the vehicles are taken off the premises
- Obtain a signature from a legal guardian or parent on a rental agreement before renting to anyone younger than 18 years of age
Owners will be required to annually register each rental vehicle with the city. Upon registration, they will be issued a decal for street operation and tags indicating the vehicle type. Both must be displayed on every vehicle.
The city will allow a company to request an extension of 30 days if the business is unable to meet the May 15 deadline for compliance.