Residents looking to ban moped rentals on Martha's Vineyard

Mopeds are easy for tourists to rent when they get off the ferry on Martha’s Vineyard and are looking for a way to get around the island for the day.

Some residents in Oak Bluffs are pushing for a ban on moped rentals.  They say mopeds are more dangerous than they look, and too many visitors have been injured, or even killed.

“If you’ve never ridden a moped before, it’s going to be an all new experience for you, on how to start it, how to ride it,” said Nick Kleidon, the general manager at Martha’s Bikes in Vineyard Haven, a store that doesn’t rent mopeds.

Kleidon believes it’s particularly difficult to master a moped on the Vineyard in the summer.

"All this traffic.  All these people. All these pedestrians.  People on bicycles.  People on motorcycles, and people in cars.  It becomes a high stress environment," said Kleidon.

Moped operators don’t need a special license.

“The injuries from moped accidents range from relatively minor bruises and scrapes to fatal injuries,” said Dr. Aaron Hexdall, an attending physician in the emergency room at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. “They’re a lot more similar to motorcycles than bicycles, and I think the injury patterns that we see are consistent with those for motorcycle injuries.”

Noelle Lambert is one of the victims of a moped accident.

The UMass Lowell lacrosse player lost her left leg when the moped she was riding with a teammate collided with another vehicle.

“I remember everything from the accident.  I looked down and my leg was gone,” said Lambert in a video produced by the America East Conference and Cod Rock Video.

Lambert returned to the field in April and scored a goal. Still, she’s reminded of her accident every day.

“It’s really painful on my left leg," said Lambert.

In Oak Bluffs, residents have formed the “Mopeds are Dangerous Action Committee” to try and ban rental mopeds.

Town leaders have filed the paper work with their legislative delegation for a Home Rule Petition which would allow them to enact a rental ban.

It’s important to note that unless a ban is implemented, moped rentals remain a legal business.

Company owners have reportedly complied with safety measures added in recent years, but that hasn’t slowed to the effort for a ban.

A non-binding Vineyard wide resolution found that 90 percent of residents supported a ban on moped rentals.

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