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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | FEBRUARY 02, 2011 7:10 AM

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Safety concerns about student mopeds

After reading Monday’s response to the article about MopedU, I found it absurd that somebody would allow students to ride mopeds around the city without any training.

Last summer, I bought a moped to drive to work every day. My commute was about 30 minutes, and I could fill up my gas tank for $1.50 versus the $40 or so it would cost to fill up a car’s gas tank.

Also, I would be driving to work before rush hour and coming back in the middle of the day, before the evening rush-hour traffic. The moped seemed perfect, and it was so fun to ride.

On July 22, I was making the same right turn I had made every other day that summer onto Providence Road when I wrecked. I remember signaling and making the turn, then sitting on the pavement with the moped on its side, 3 feet in front of me. I had slid into a lane of oncoming traffic. I shattered a two-inch section of my right fibula, dislocated my ankle, and had road rash that went through both layers of skin, because I had been wearing shorts. I spent the worst week of my life in a splint, with my leg broken, waiting for the swelling to go down before I had a 6-inch plate and nine screws surgically put into my leg, as well as three elastic bands to hold my ankle back in place after being dislocated. As a result, I was in a cast for three months.

When the police came to talk to me about the incident, they had already examined the area where I crashed. I was going 26 mph, and the speed limit was 35. I had my turn signal on; it was still blinking when my moped was lying on its side on the street. There was nothing in the street that I could have hit — no pot holes, trash, spots of sand or gravel, or anything else.

You can have all of the training in the world, or none at all. Freak accidents happen. Factor in the traffic of Iowa City, the inexperience of college-age drivers, and the pressures of trying to get to class on time, and I truly think renting mopeds out to college students is a mistake.

I hope students sincerely consider the risks of riding a moped. While mopeds may seem to be cost-effective or “look cool,” they’re still dangerous. And really, is walking to class that terrible?

Hannah Lachnit
UI freshman


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