Indiana man seeks tougher rules for moped drivers

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Emily Longnecker/Eyewitness News

West Lafayette - Recent moped crashes, including one that involved his own son, has a man calling for a change to current laws.

"Best I can recollect is waking up in the hospital in a room," said Bob Jewell, moped owner.

Bob Jewell, 48, doesn't remember crashing his moped in late May. His father Arthur remembers it all too well. He watched his son stay in a coma for three weeks.

"If I can keep one person from going through this or being seriously injured or killed, it's well worth it," said Arthur Jewell.

The elder Jewell has contacted more than a dozen state lawmake asking them to strengthen the state's moped laws.

"I want to see a helmet law invoked that at least other people won't have to go through what my wife had gone through," said Jewell.

Jewell says his son wasn't wearing helmet when he crashed and was only driving a moped because state law doesn't require a driver's license to operate one.

"He lost his license and the only thing he could use was a moped," he said.

Bob Jewell admits he had too many DUIs and with no license, a moped was his only way to get around.

"We need to get around too." said Bob Jewell.

"I see a lot of people driving these things. There's no regulation whatsoever," said his father.

"They're out there and got a convenient way to get around. A lot of them are just not seasoned drivers," said Lt. Jeff Duhamell, IMPD.

Just two weeks ago, a 15-year-old Carmel boy died after crashing his moped. He was wearing a helmet.

"Unfortunately, it seems like every summer we lose one or two of our young drivers or teenaers to tragic accidents," said Lt. Duhamell.

Indiana law defines a moped as a motorized bicycle. Arthur Jewell and others who drive them say they're anything but.

"It's far from a bicycle," said Jesse Hanselman, moped owner.

Indiana law requires that moped drivers must be at least 15 years old, and those under 18 must wear helmets.

For Jesse Hanselman, his moped has been a way to work until he gets his driver's license.

"I've seen it skyrocketing in teenagers. Getting mopeds, getting around on 'em and the gas, I love how cheap the gas is," he said.

Hanselman says he'll use the moped until he can drive a car, and then pass it on to his younger brother.

Arthur Jewell will be passing his son's story along to anyone who will listen.

"I'm not going to quit," said Arthur Jewell, adding that he wants to see a change in the current law. He thinks the state should require moped drivers to have special licenses.