Indiana considers registration for mopeds

Lewis Ramey has a suspended license, but every day he's on the road in Noblesville going to work or running errands.
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Indiana lawmakers are at it again, trying to decide for the third time what to do about mopeds on our roadways.

Over the past six months teens have been seriously injured in moped accidents. Now there's a new proposal that would bring the state thousands of dollars but allow unlicensed drivers to keep on driving.

Lewis Ramey has a suspended license, but every day he's on the road in Noblesville going to work or running errands.

"You gotta ride them when you don't have a license. I have to work to make a living for my family," he said after he pulled over to the side of the road to talk with 13 Investigates.

"Are you glad that they're not going to make you have a license or insurance?" we asked.

"Right, yes, yes," he responded.

Ramey knows some Indiana lawmakers want to strengthen state moped laws by requiring owners to pay a $26 registration just like motorcyclists.

"I can do that, that would be no problem," said Ramey.

Money from the fees would increase State revenue by an estimated $78,000.

Portions of each individual fee would fund the Motor Vehicle highway account, public safety  and the Motorcycle Operator Safety Education Fund.

But unlike motorcycles, no training to ride a moped would be required. Ramey says lawmakers should focus their efforts on teens on mopeds.

Gabe Gilliam's mom says he won't be getting on a moped anytime soon.

"He has two rods and some pins in his ankle. He does have one more surgery to remove the hardwar, but other than that he's doing really well," said Malinda Wildey, Gabe's mother.

Last August the then-13-year-old eighth grader and his 13-year-old friend Jake Dodson collided almost head-on with an SUV. Neither of the teens wanted their bruised faces on camera.

"We both had helmets on and they were strapped up. But when the car hit us, it knocked my helmet off," Gabe told 13 Investigates days after the accident.

A month after Gabe's accident two more teens were injured in a midnight crash with a car.

The only safety measure proposed in the bill would require all moped drivers to drive to the right of the road out of traffic.

State lawmakers have debated over what to do with mopeds since 13 Investigates first uncovered loopholes that allow unlicensed drivers on the road with no insurance causing accidents and in some cases driving drunk

The measure was shot down last year because of a requirement for insurance. So this year, lawmakers have taken both insurance and licenses off the table when it comes to mopeds.

If passed, offenders at Hamilton County Community Corrections with suspended licenses will get to serve out their time, driving to and from work, with no legal license but their only form of transportation registered with the State.

Police say it will be easier to keep up with registered, plated mopeds with speeds limited to 30 miles per hour.

This bill could also help counties across the state that impose a surtax. For example, 3,000 registered mopeds could translate to $37,000 a year for local road and street accounts.

The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate.