- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina House Thursday rejected a bill requiring insurance for moped drivers.

The House voted 51-54 against concurring on a Senate version of a bill that would have required insurance and registration with the state.

The insurance requirement has been a sticking point between the two chambers. The House version previously only mandated that mopeds be registered with the Division of Motor Vehicles.

Lawmakers have said registering mopeds would make it easier for law enforcement to identify and keep track of them on the road and when they are used in crimes.

Rep. Philip Shepard, R-Onslow, sponsored the bill and said requiring insurance is about responsibility and accountability.

“There have been many incidents and accidents in our state involving mopeds. If there’s no insurance on the moped…the person who’s the innocent party (has) pay for insurance and damage done to their vehicle.”

But there is no data or studies done to prove the accident rate, said Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake.

“I can’t legislate on ‘ifs,’” she said. “For me anecdotes do not equal data and data is what I need to make my decision.”

But other lawmakers said the insurance provision would hurt low-income people and could prevent them from getting to work because they can’t afford insurance or registration.

“The people I know who ride mopeds, they ride it because they cannot afford an automobile,” said Rep. Alma Adams, D-Guilford.

Moped store owners have said the insurance requirement will hinder sales and they have opposed it.

To register, moped drivers would also pay a $40 title fee and a $15 or $22 registration fee depending on whether the bike has a sidecar. The DMV estimates there are 17,000 mopeds on North Carolina roads.

The bill will now go to a conference committee for a compromise.

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