Maryland moped purchase could become tough

Moped purchase in Maryland may get harder (Photo: Journeyguy via Flickr)

Buying a moped or scooter in Maryland may not be such a smooth ride, because of a new bill before the state Senate.

If it becomes law, moped owners will have to title and insure their ride with the state—it also mandates users wear a helmet and protective eye gear.

Maryland grad student Alvaro Pedraca wants a new ride.

“Gas prices are way high,” Pedraca said.

At sixty miles a gallon, this scooter sounds like a good deal.

"For the most part, it's easy, economical transportation,” said Mike Scaletta, the owner of Mike’s Scooters.

Scaletta caters to the University's students at his Beltsville shop—mopeds have become the go-to mode of transportation on the sprawling campus.

“Parking in college park is hard too, it's expensive,” Pedraca said.

But Scaletta worries Maryland Senate bill 309 could put the brakes on sales, just as business is taking off.

“I think it’s a big mistake,” Scaletta said.

Helmets and eye protection would become mandatory. Owners would need to title their moped and get liability insurance—regulations that could cost hundreds.

“They just want to put their hand in it. They just want to charge them a dollar for it, that's all. It's just a money thing to the state,” Scaletta said.

Senators wrote up the bill after police reported scooters are being used to transport illegal drugs. Interested buyers fear the rules would make buying a hassle.

“It would take more time for people to do it so there would be a delay and for some people, that delay, it fades away interest,” Pedraca said.

The University of Maryland has moved toward some of these regulations voluntarily. Riders will be required to wear helmets on campus starting this fall. They are already required to register their mopeds with the university.

The Senate is poised to make a final vote tomorrow. The house has its own version making it though that chamber.