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New Statewide Virginia Law for Moped Riders

<p>Moped riders now must carry a government issued ID or a driver's license and a helmet with a face shield or safety goggles.</p>

WINCHESTERVA Mopeds have not always been considered vehicles but on July 1, 2013 that changed.

Virginia law now requires all moped riders to carry a government issued ID and wear a helmet with a face shield unless the moped has a windshield.

"It's not a driver's license but any government issued photo ID that showcases your name, address and date of birth should work for you. Some folks' work ID's might do that," said Sunni Brown, Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles spokesperson.

The new law serves many purposes for both riders and law enforcement officers.

One of the biggest reasons this law was implemented was to help identify a person if they were to get into a serious accident.

"There was actually a member of the law enforcement in the community who was involved in this study who encountered the situation where it took him a few days to identify the victim who died in the moped crash because there was no identifying information on the victim or the moped," said Brown.

The old law did not require any form of ID, and only needed to carry something that included their name, address and date of birth. This was information that could have been easily written on a piece of paper.

Not only did this law assist officers in identifying a person, it can also help them recover stolen mopeds.

With the past year, officials say five mopeds have been stolen in Winchester.

With mopeds being affordable and accessible, it has become a popular choice of transportation. Meanwhile, Brown says 2,000 moped crashes involved fatalities over the past five years in Virginia. She says 31 of those crashes resulted in fatalities, and nearly all of the crashes (1,967) resulted in injuries. 

"You see a lot of them on a 55 mph road and these things typically only go 35 mph so that's a huge danger there when you're having large vehicles blow past them," said James Myers, general manager of Valley Cycle Center.

It can be a dangerous situation where the new helmet with a face shield can protect you from a deadly outcome.

"There's nothing between you and the ground, there's no seatbelt so you have to protect yourself as well as you can," said Myers.

All riders operating a moped must be at least 16-years old and obtain a title and registration by July 1, 2014. The title costs $10 and annual registration is $20.25.

If you are caught on the road without a government-issued ID or a driver's license and/or a proper helmet, penalties include: a traffic infraction violation and a $50 fee.

*Note: The ID shown in this video is only a sample. Information on the ID is not real.

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