NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Police seized 21 mopeds on Block Island over the weekend after their operators were caught driving unsafely and in violation of their rental contracts, according to New Shoreham Police Chief Matthew Moynihan.
Moynihan said an off-duty New Shoreham officer reported seeing a large group of moped operators riding erratically without helmets Sunday afternoon.
As the throng passed the New Shoreham Police Department, Moynihan said an officer stopped them and seized their 19 mopeds.
The officer then contacted two rental agencies that own the mopeds and notified them of the erratic behavior. Both companies requested the mopeds be impounded due to breach of contract.
“Block Island is a beautiful place, and we want visitors and residents to enjoy its natural beauty and fun atmosphere safely,” Moynihan said. “Unsafe and aggressive driving will not be tolerated in New Shoreham, and we hope that our response to these incidents will make visitors think twice before bringing bad behavior with them on vacation.”
Later that evening, Moynihan said another officer stopped two people who were operating their mopeds erratically on Old Town Road. Again, the rental company was notified and requested the mopeds be impounded.
In a statement, moped rental agency owners Mike Finnimore of Island Moped and John Leone of Old Harbor Bike and Moped Rental agreed that, while they want their customers to have fun, those who break the rules will have their rental agreements canceled.
“We are providing clear training and guidance to each operator at the time of rental,” Leone said. “If people don’t follow the rules and the law, we need to do our part to be good community members and seize the mopeds.”
Block Island has seen its fair share of moped crashes, one of which led to the death of a Cranston man last summer. Earlier this year, the town updated its moped ordinance to require customers watch an educational training video before the bike is rented out.