November 26, 2014

Bill would raise the top speed for mopeds

Mopeds could go faster on Iowa roadways if a bill that’s cleared the Iowa Senate and a committee in the House gets approval in the full, the 100-member Iowa House of Representatives. The current speed limit for mopeds is 30 and the bill would raise it to 39 miles an hour.

Mark Maxwell of the Iowa Motorcycle Dealers Association says the change will make riding a moped safer. “Mopeds have been struck from the rear because they can’t keep up with the flow of traffic,” Maxwell says. While mopeds come out of the factory with a maximum speed of 39 miles per hour, mopeds sold in Iowa have to be altered so their top speed is 30.

The Iowa Brain Injury Alliance opposes the bill, arguing higher speeds will endanger the mostly younger drivers who are scooting around on mopeds. Mikel Derby, a lobbyist for the Iowa Department of Transportation, says officials in his agency have similar concerns about teenagers on mopeds. “We just don’t feel these folks are ready yet, from (age) 14 to 16), to be increasing their speed,” Derby says.

The bill has broad support in the legislature, though. Lawmakers say letting mopeds go nine miles an hour faster isn’t a huge leap, plus many 14 year olds already have permits to legally drive cars up to 70 miles an hour on the highway.