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Fairfax police get schooled in moped safety

Fortunately for its many residents, Northern Virginia is home to a robust mix of transportation options. With the price of gas certainly not going down in recent years, some residents are becoming more open to alternatives to driving a car. Some may choose to get around on a moped; if they're not going far, a moped can be ideal for in-town driving, if weather permits. Still, due to its small size and unfamiliarity for many drivers, a moped can easily become involved in a car accident if vehicle drivers aren't attentive.

Last year, according to officials, there were 600 crashes in Virginia that involved mopeds, motorscooters or mini-bikes. Of these incidents, 12 of them proved deadly. Earlier this year, a teenager from Reston was killed while riding a mini bike. Over the past five years, notes the DMV, there have been over 2,000 moped accidents spurring injuries for 1,967 individuals.

On July 1 of this year, a new law affecting mopeds required drivers to meet several new requirements. One is that they must wear an approved helmet, be age 16 or older, register their moped with the DMV and carry a photo ID when riding on state roads. In addition, if a moped does not feature a front windshield, the driver must sport certain types of face protection.

This summer, Fairfax County police are receiving special training on moped safety. According to one officer, moped drivers may mistakenly believe they are more visible than they think. For example, the seat height on some mini bikes may be only 24 inches high. The line of sight on such a vehicle is often nearly parallel with the bumpers of many cars.

Both vehicle drivers and those operating smaller bikes are required to obey the rules of the road. A damaging auto accident and personal injury case can easily develop out of a driver not paying attention to all of those using the road.

Source: restonnow.com, "New laws for mopeds, new safety training for Fairfax County police," Karen Goff, July 22, 2014

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