Columbia, SC (WLTX) - According to Columbia Police a 22-year-old University of South Carolina student died Wednesday while riding his moped. David Newell was riding along Rosewood Drive when a speeding truck hit him from behind.
"I actually befriend a lot of these kids and customers of mine and we build a relationship, so whenever you hear something like this it's obviously heartbreaking to say the least," Justin Clark said.
Clark owns Hawg Scooters located down the street from where the accident occurred and as his business continues to grow, so does the moped community.
"Every year we sell more mopeds. They're letting more students into USC. Parking is going down," Clark said.
According to the Department of Public Safety 41 moped riders were killed in an accident throughout our state in 2016.
"All mopeds to be legally on the road they have to have a headlight, working blinkers and a working taillight," Clark said.
You also need a drivers license or moped permit. Riders under 21 need to wear a helmet and in 2018 riders will have to register with the DMV.
"But there is a responsibility for other drivers with cars to be vigilant and defensive and look out for their fellow man," he said.
Moped riders are limited to roads where the speed limit is less than 55 mph, but Clark said that drivers need to be aware that mopeds can only reach a maximum of a little over 30 mph.
"That's about as fast as a moped can go; is around 35 (mph). Unless you do some type of upgrades to the motor, it's not going to go any faster than that," he said. "You have to make some tough choices with mopeds and people need to realize that there is a lot of sacrifice that goes involved, so I just wish a lot more people would be more respectful of mopeds. They're going to work. They're going to school just like you are."
The driver of the truck who police said hit Newell also suffered injuries and was taken to the hospital. His name has not been released, but Columbia Police told News 19 that charges are pending.