Mopeds are growing in popularity, and as their popularity grows, the number of Las Vegas accidents they are involved in is also rising. While these accidents have many similarities to motorcycle accidents, there are differences in the types of injuries riders experience and the distribution of fatalities. Mopeds may seem safer than motorcycles, but like any motorized transport, safe is a relative term.
Mopeds in Las Vegas
A moped is defined as a vehicle whose displacement is less than 50 cubic centimeters and whose engine produces less than 1500 watts of output. The vehicle must have a maximum speed that does not exceed 30 mph on a flat surface.
As with motorcycles, mopeds must have the proper lights and mirrors, but unlike motorcycles, they are not required to have turn signals. The lack of turn signals presents a serious hazard to the rider and other motorists when the rider makes a turn or changes lanes.
Moped riders are required to possess a valid Nevada driver’s license to drive on any street in the state. The moped must be licensed and owners must pay a one-time registration fee for the vehicle to be considered legal.
Unlike many states that require motorcyclists to wear helmets, Nevada does not require moped operators to wear a helmet. This leaves them at significant risk of traumatic brain injury in a motor vehicle accident.
In Nevada, moped riders are required to remain in the right-hand lane of traffic unless they are in the process of making a left turn. Exceptions to this rule include instructions from law enforcement or road conditions that make it unsafe for the rider to remain in the right lane.
The Dangers of Riding Mopeds
Statistically, moped riders suffer fewer fatalities and less serious injuries than motorcyclists. However, moped riders suffer more head injuries, especially in states that do not require helmet usage. Those at greatest risk of serious injury or death are over the age of 60.
Most moped accidents involve collisions with motor vehicles or running off the road. When these accidents occur, moped riders have minimal protection against serious head or body trauma. Unlike motorcyclists, few moped riders wear leather, helmets, and pads to protect themselves. Even at lower speeds, the lack of protective safety measures can result in potentially fatal injuries.