Block Island sets new rules on moped use

South County

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Block Island’s town council has set new rules for moped drivers to try and make things safer.

The New Shoreham Town Council met virtually on Tuesday to discuss the four recent crashes over the weekend, three involving mopeds, and the six people from out-of-state that were arrested.

New Shoreham Police Chief Vin Carlone said during the Zoom meeting that about 100 traffic violations were reported over the weekend. But that even with that, he said he’s seen an improvement since state troopers arrived on the island on Friday.

“When people see police officers in high visibility posts they start to behave in every way better,” Carlone said. “A lot of summons written, the idea is to get people to conform their behavior and drive politely.”

First Warden Ken Lacoste says he witnessed several bail hearings over the weekend for people who were arrested for drunk driving.

“Appreciate the fact that the Rhode Island State Police were here to enforce all of our regulations,” Lacoste said.

The town council discussed new rules for moped rentals, including the number of mopeds a vendor can rent out being reduced from 34 to 25 a day. Shoes and helmets are required and dirt roads are off limits.

Wrist bands must also be worn by the operator to show that they were by the rental company on how to safely use the moped.

“Sometimes it is more obvious than not, but if a person is obviously unable to safely operate that moped they should not be allowed to go out on the roads with that moped,” Lacoste said.

Town councilors said Block Island’s moped rental companies have agreed to the rules, but did express in a letter to the council that they were unhappy with the new rental return time of 5 p.m.

The New Shoreham Town Manager says she plans on putting a moped task force together that would enforce the new rules.

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