Law would ban the use of souped-up scooters in City
The Committee on Transportation, chaired by Council Member John C. Liu, today heard testimony about a piece of legislation, introduced by Council Member Michael McMahon, that would extend the ban on motorized scooters to include the point of sale, lease, rental and use in private spaces.
The law currently prohibits their use only in public places. Originally, motorized scooters were introduced to society as an alternate mode of transportation, said Chairman Liu. However, while these scooters look harmless, they are extremely dangerous, make unpredictable moves and sudden turns, and often travel up to 40 miles per hour. Like a plague of locusts, children on motorized scooters are swarming through our neighborhoods, said Council Member McMahon.
Children are putting themselves in danger and others in harm’s way. My bill will outlaw these motor scooters, save lives and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. Chairman Liu noted that under current state laws, it is already illegal to operated motorized scooters on public streets and sidewalks, however, the proliferation of these devices requires that the Council take action at the city level, said Chairman Liu. Injuries and other problems were already pervasive last summer when the scooters were prices between $400 and $500.
With prices advertised under $100, we can now expect more accidents. Testifying on behalf of the Administration was Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner David Woloch who stated, While [the Administration] support[s] the Council’s intent, the current provisions in the vehicle and traffic law address this issue. A vote on the legislation is expected this summer.
One possible change may differentiate between gas and electric-powered scooters. Electric scooters, unlike gas-powered ones, are non-polluting, quieter and do not accelerate as quickly. Making the distinction between electric and gas scooters will sharpen the focus of this bill to better address the numerous problems, noted Council Member McMahon.
Souped-up motorized scooters – or gopeds as they are commonly called – are outfitted with engines but not with other conventional safety equipment such as lights and reflectors. It is this lack of safety equipment that prohibits the noisy contraptions of Department of Motor Vehicle registration.
In 2000, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported nearly 5,000 emergency room injuries associated with motorized scooters. Int. 98 excludes any vehicle used to assist disabled persons, mobility devices or DMV certified vehicles such as mopeds or motorcycles.
The new law would define motorized scooters as a limited use vehicle other than one registered or capable of being registered [with the DMV], which has a maximum performance speed of not more than forty miles per hour.
For more information, see electric motor scooters.
Louise Mills contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.the-scooters-report.com.
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