Moped use increases in mid-Missouri

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COLUMBIA - A local retailer has seen increased moped sales in recent months, but employees are not sure why more people are buying. 

Amelia Westberg said she needed a way to get to work everyday. She didn't want to continually make the 20-minute walk, so she bought a moped.

"I got it in the beginning of the summer, basically because I didn't want to pay car insurance," Westberg said.

Employees from a local motor shop that sells mopeds, Marcy Motors LLC, said they have sold more in the past few months than they usually do.

"For the last two, three years that we've been selling anyways - this year, mainly, I don't know why, but we've sold a lot," said Chan Hing, secretary and car salesperson at Marcy Motors LLC.

She estimated that the motor dealer has sold more than 100 mopeds between June and August, which she said is not typical. Although she didn't know the reasons for the increase, she speculated it was because there are fewer restrictions for driving mopeds than other vehicles.

According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, motor bicycle operators in Missouri don't need to wear helmets while driving the vehicles, but they do need to have valid driver's licenses. DOR classifies motorized bicycles (as opposed to motorcycles) as:

"Any two-wheeler or three-wheeled device having an automatic transmission and a motor with a cylinder capacity of not more than fifty (50) cubic centimeters, which produces less than three (3) gross brake horsepower, and is capable of propelling the device at a maximum speed of not more than thirty (30) miles per hour on level ground."

Westberg said she's seen an interesting dynamic between motorcycle and moped drivers.

"Whenever I see other people with mopeds, we just give each other a little nod," she said. "So it's funny when I see people in motorcycles, too because sometimes they'll acknowledge me with their little motorcycle wave. But, sometimes, they'll just glare at me."

She said having a moped is cheaper than having other kinds of vehicles.

"I think the fuel-efficiency is the best part because every time I fill it up, it's $2.14, and I only have to fill it up once a month," Westberg said.

Marcy Motors LLC typically sells mopeds for between $700 and $800, Hing said. She said it's a cost-effective method of transportation with rising gas prices and when faced with paying a cab fare.

Westberg said she's glad she decided to buy one, even though other people in cars often want to speed in front of her.

"I like being part of the moped crew," she said.

(Editor's Note: This story has been corrected with the name of the motor shop.)