Can New Shoreham take back local control of mopeds in 2022?

Fri, 04/01/2022 - 3:30am

To the Editor,
On July 31, 2022 the consent agreement between the town and the moped operators expires, presenting our elected officials with an historic opportunity. When freed from this binding agreement, Town Council can finally petition the state to rewrite R.I. General Law statute 31-19.3, which
has hamstrung the town since 1984 from using our home rule to implement safer moped practices.
Rewriting the statute in concert with Rhode Island state legislators -  which only our Town Council can do— would allow for a truly safer, more equitable relationship between Block Island, moped rental operators, and their customers. This is the town’s optimal legal pathway to raise license fees, for example, to reflect the industry’s true economic cost to Block Island’s essential police, rescue, and medical services, and to ensure that our Town Council has the authority to implement accepted safety practices, like mandatory training videos for customers, and others. If our Town Council does not petition the state to rewrite Section 31-19.3 ASAP, the town will forfeit meaningful moped reform on the island for the foreseeable future.

Yours in dedication to a safer, saner Block Island.

Sarah H. Bacon
*More information on Section 31-19.3 of R.I. General Laws can be found at