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Dangerous Week for Moped Riders in Indiana

Steve Wagner

It’s been an unusually dangerous week for moped riders in Indiana. It began last Friday in Kosciusko County around 9 p.m. Two people, including a 61-year-old Huntington woman, were riding a moped on Old Road 30 near Warsaw when a semi-truck struck them from behind. Both Latanna Thompson and the moped’s driver, Dustin Thompson, were thrown from the vehicle. They suffered severe head injuries and were transferred to separate hospitals in critical condition.

Then on Monday, there were two moped accidents. In Carmel, a mid-afternoon ride turned disastrous when a moped collided with an SUV in the intersection of 4th Avenue and Emerson Road. The rider in this accident also suffered serious injuries and was taken to St. Vincent’s Trauma Center in critical condition.

There was no immediate word on the driver of a moped in Lafayette who collided with a CityBus at the intersection of Ferry and 20th streets. The accident happened around 9 p.m. and closed the intersection for two hours while an accident reconstruction team performed an investigation.

All accidents are still under investigation, and our thoughts are with those who have been injured.

Risks Associated with Moped Use are Often Underestimated

Data on mopeds is often rolled up into studies on motorcycles. This is useful in some ways, but it obscures the actual dangers involved in riding a moped. Most people are inclined to believe motorcycles are far more dangerous. They barely think about the low-speed, hip little scooters, such as Vespas, that have surged in popularity over the past several years.

In reality, mopeds can be incredibly dangerous. Partly this is due to the underestimation of risk. A 2011 study published in The Journal of Trauma reported only 17% of moped and scooter riders wear helmets. Though the study was limited to a single state, the authors concluded a majority of traffic infrastructure is poorly suited to ensuring safety of moped and scooter riders. Risk factors associated with increased severe or lethal injury that could be addressed via state or policy intervention included:

  • Unpaved roads;
  • Moped driving at speed greater than 20 mph;
  • Posted speed limit greater than 30 mph;
  • Four or more lanes on the roadway;
  • Poor lighting.

Moped and Vespa accidents are like other accidents in that drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol are far more likely to be involved in accidents.

Not only are moped accidents far more common than we think, the injuries sustained are often severe. Head and brain injuries are by far the most common serious injury, and scooter riders can find themselves paralyzed or with a traumatic brain injury. Worse yet, a majority of moped owners are uninsured, leaving huge medical, recovery, and/or burial costs if an accident does occur.

The Indianapolis-based lawyers at Wagner Reese are at your service. Our knowledgeable and professional attorneys have worked with thousands of clients in their times of need, and we have a reputation for getting results. Whether you have been injured in a scooter accident or you are mourning theloss of a family member, we can help you get justice and the compensation you deserve. Call us today to get started with a completely FREE consultation: (888) 204-8440.

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