Train moped riders, then police them


To the Editor:

I know that this is an old subject, but I think that it really needs to be addressed again: The moped training here has no oversight. The people who rent mopeds to my knowledge have no regulations as to training, proper attire, rules of the road, standard operating procedure.

I do believe that if the renters of these vehicles cannot be held to task, then those who rent should make sure that their clients fully understand how to safely operate these vehicles. And the rules of the Commonwealth concerning the use of mopeds as defined as a slow-moving vehicle should be enforced. Our laws state that a vehicle that is considered a moped cannot exceed speeds of 30 miles per hour. Also the law has restrictions set in place that do not allow such vehicles to operate on public roads with speed limits above 30 miles per hour.

I personally have witnessed many mopeds on the side of the road, with the riders bloodied or broken, that I believe were caused by not being prepared for one-lane roads with no breakdown lanes. Let’s face it, most of our roads are two-lane roads, white line on the sides, then nothing but dirt. Untrained riders on these roads, being passed, or trying to be passed, by cars, trucks, heavy trucks/equipment, are the people whose lives are at risk. The interesting part is that of all the moped accidents that I personally have seen, most don’t even show up in the papers.

It is my experience that moped riders drive like a bunch of children, all over the road, blowing their horns, with no concern for other motorists. If the laws that are written to protect the people that not only live here but all who are here, then why is it that we have moped accidents on roads that legally, they are not even supposed to be on? I’m not asking that mopeds be banned; we tried that years ago. I am asking that the law as I know it for slow-moving vehicles be enforced to the letter of the law.

Kill someone while driving intoxicated, go to jail. What happens if I drive down one of our roads in a 10-wheel dump truck loaded with, say, 60,000 pounds, and some fool who is not trained ends up under my wheels? Not my fault? I would never forgive myself. And I would never forgive the people who allowed such a thing to happen, when there are laws in place to stop it from happening. Think about it. Pulled over for no seatbelt. How about being pulled over for operating on a public way illegally?

Sit on Beach Road in Oak Bluffs any weekend, and watch all the riders on mopeds between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown do as they please, with no enforcement of the law. If we are really looking to put money into the town, just fine the mopeds that are operating on our town roads against the law. If I park too long in town, I get a ticket. Why don’t they, as it is a moving violation? In the long run, who is going to get sued? The towns, for not enforcing the state law if some moped rider gets killed because of bad/no training? Or the renter?

I’m sure the renter has a liability disclaimer. How would the town explain that it is common practice to allow such vehicles to operate on our public ways? I have been told that ignorance of the law is no excuse. It’s not my job to enforce it. But the law does exist. Questions, see Mass. definition of mopeds and their restrictions.

Keith Linscott

Oak Bluffs