Lawmakers: New moped laws could have saved 7-year-old boy’s life

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By: James Gherardi

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 29, 2014) – State lawmakers wish new moped rules had taken effect sooner, after a boy in Columbus was thrown from one and killed.

According to the Columbus Police Department, Skyler Bruner, 7, was riding the moped with his father, Darrell Bruner, 29, when they were involved in a crash on U.S. 31 near Shady Lane around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Police said the driver of a Jeep Cherokee, Justin Lucas, 26, Columbus, didn’t see the moped and hit it. A witness told officers that the moped’s rear light was dimly lit and hard to see.

It is still unknown if the second grader was wearing a helmet.

Lawmakers say come next year it will be illegal for any passenger to be on board certain mopeds.

“Personally, I’m a little upset with myself that I didn’t push harder,” said State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, who co-sponsored the new moped legislation.

“If this law would have gone into effect as of July 1, like most bills, maybe this 7-year-old boy wouldn’t have been on the moped,” said Smith.

Smith worked for years to pass stricter rules for mopeds like the one Bruner was thrown from.

“My first thought was, why did it take five years to pass this law?” Smith said.

The new law will take small mopeds, 50cc’s or less, from being basically unregulated, to strictly controlled.

Mopeds will have to be registered and licensed with the BMV.  Riders under 18 years of age will be required to wear a helmet and no passengers will be allowed.

“I would not be opposed to some style of formal training. I just feel that for my safety, I have children, I’m on the roadways on a daily basis with my children,” said Steve Schaefer, co-owner of Midwest Scooter and Cycle.

Schaefer said he’s happy with the new moped laws.

“I think if anything, I think it’s a benefit to the rider themselves,” he said.

He also said that much more can be done.

The new laws will still allow drivers without a license to operate mopeds; they’ll just need a state-issued ID card.  Those drivers will also have to take a written road sign test.

“I would prefer that at least everybody have an understanding of road rules and proper precautions to take, as opposed to endangering myself, my family or yours,” said Schaefer.

The Indiana BMV issued this press release to help users understand the new rules that will take effect next year.

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