Helmet Laws For Scooters And Mopeds In Maryland

1144 words - 5 pages

Helmet Laws for Scooters and Mopeds in MarylandNichole RayKaplan UniversityCM220-03Professor ViceJuly 19, 2011Helmet Laws for Scooters and Mopeds in MarylandHelmet laws for mopeds and motor scooters will help lower costs to citizens, as well as help save countless lives. As injuries and fatalities rise, the need for improved safety for this ever increasing mode of transportation is rising as well. Since 2001, HB 1402 has allowed persons driving a motor scooter to not use a helmet (Motor scooters, scooters, 2006). Bills that would require moped riders to wear helmets are pending in Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland and Washington, although some would cover only riders under 21 or 18. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that annual moped fatalities doubled - from 48 to 96 - between 2005 and 2009 (Schotz, 2011).Motorcycle safety has been a priority in Maryland since 1992 - all riders and operators are required to wear a helmet that has been approved by the department of transportation. While not all operators agree that this is constitutional, the general public agrees that this law is lifesaving. In 2008, 60 lives were saved by helmet use per 100,000 registered motorcycles, along with $118 million in the state of Maryland (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2011). This fact brings me to my next point. If we have helmet laws in place for motorcycles, as well as bicycles, then why not motor bikes, like mopeds and motor scooters? While the engines can only be up to 50 cubic centimeters, and they are not permitted to travel at speeds exceeding 30 miles per hour, making them a lot smaller and considerably slower than motorcycles, these vehicles are still dangerous to operate or even ride on. What makes these bikes so dangerous, you may be asking yourself? Mopeds and motor scooters are legal to drive on any roadway where the speed limit does not exceed 50 miles per hour. They are also harder to control, because they are a single tracked vehicle.There are special characteristics that make motorcycles and mopeds more dangerous than other vehicles. Being a single track vehicle means that the operator has difficulty controlling the vehicle, especially when turning a sharp corner or breaking, especially in an emergency situation. Age and also experience are large contributors to accident statistics, and rider motivation can lead to this as well. Lastly, the shape of the body and the lack of protection mean that riders are impacted more in an accident. Training is an important factor to help reduce the risk of an accident and injury. Roads were designed to be used by cars, and the increase in motor bikes means that everyone needs to be more aware of all vehicles, no matter how small, in their general area. Moped operators can safeguard themselves by getting the proper training, using a headlight at all times, wearing protective clothing and a helmet and obeying the current laws pertaining to mopeds (Noordzij,...

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