Safety concerns for motorists and pedestrians as moped usage increases
The death of a young woman on a moped at Michigan State University last year is putting more attention on some safety issues.
East Lansing Police say it's becoming more important with more people riding them around the city.
"In the last 20 years, we have seen a lot more mopeds in town because they are an easy way to get around town," said Steve Gonzalez, the Deputy Chief of ELPD.
Longtime moped driver, Brandon Staetrn, couldn't agree more but says he's often frustrated with how cars drive around him.
"I drive by cars all the time that are just getting off the highway and have to go to 60 to 30 in a matter of couple seconds, so they get frustrated at you can see that, they tailgate you and they honk at you," said Staetrn.
It's these confrontations that concern the police.
"If you have to pass a moped, give them some extra room so you are not too close to them," advised Staetrn.
Earlier this year, an MSU student was killed in a crash involving a salt truck while riding her moped.
Although Gonzales says there has been no major moped code changes since the incident, people realize the dangers.
"That's an incident for us to point to and point out to people that they are out in traffic, so be aware of your surroundings and drive defensively as if you were in a car."
Police encourage moped drivers to wear a helmet, even if they are older than 19 and to take their headphones out.
"We don't want them to have their head buds in listening to music because they need to pay attention to traffic and sounds around them."
Michigan State University police say mopeds can also be a danger to pedestrians.
"Sometimes mopeds have shot across pedestrians walks, they need to be in the roadway," said Captain Doug Monette.
To keep mopeds off sidewalks and bike lanes, MSU is adding more designated moped parking on campus.
Before that, mopeds could park on the sidewalks," said Monette. "That is no longer the case."
These designated lots even have a spot to lock your moped as police say they are seeing an increase in theft.
"Just take simple precautions whether you use a u-lock or chain to immobilized your moped," said Gonzales.
For the upcoming school year, moped drivers are required to register and pay for a permit to park in the designated moped parking.
For more information on moped rules,