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Riders scoot toward ticket if they don't know the rules

Posted August 14, 2008

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— Scooters are becoming an increasingly popular choice for area commuters, but police said riders could be scooting toward a ticket if they don't properly register the two-wheelers and license themselves.

Some scooter owners believe they have to obey moped rules while zipping around town, but they really need to treat the vehicles like motorcycles, said Jim Sughrue, spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department.

Any scooter with a motor larger than 50 cc or that can travel faster than 30 mph is considered a motorcycle, Sughrue said, meaning it needs to be registered with the state Division of Motor Vehicles and the driver needs to obtain insurance and be licensed to ride a motorcycle.

Moped riders only need to wear a helmet. Neither they nor their vehicles need to be licensed under state law.

Sughrue said officers who have become knowledgeable about scooter makes and models are handing out more tickets to scooter riders for having no registration or an improper license.

The tickets appear to be the only hitch in the growing popularity of scooters. Raleigh's Vespa dealership can't keep the trendy vehicles in stock, parts manager Greg Murphy said.

"There's a waiting list," Murphy said, adding that Vespa Raleigh doesn't even have a scooter in its showroom.

Fuel economy is a primary reason for their popularity. Vespas can get up to 100 miles per gallon.

"I love it. (It) gets good gas mileage (and is) easy get around town," scooter owner Wesley Oakley said.

"I wish I could afford one. I wish I could afford one," driver Karen Malloy said.

Some drivers don't like scooters, though.

"They get in my way," Al Salisbury said.

"They're small (and) hard for cars to see them, and I don't think roads were really built for them," Chris Price said.

Police said they haven't seen an increase in wrecks involving scooters or complaints about scooter drivers.

Ken Phillips, who owns a smaller Vespa that is legally considered a moped, said he was stopped for traveling 42 mph downhill.

"I got stopped by a state trooper for speeding," Phillips said. "He only gave me a warning. Come on, it's a scooter."

43 Comments

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  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Aug 15, 2008

    Scooters are dangerous. I pray that I never get into an accident with one.

    TheAdmiral, the motorized skateboard should not be on the street in the first place with the cars, SUVs, and trucks.

  • Bill of Rights Aug 15, 2008

    Polara: I am a licensed motorcyclist. I did the MSF course about 16 years ago and have owned about a dozen bikes since then (always lawfully licensed and insured). My choice to get a scooter was based solely on wanting inexpensive, economic commuting transportation.

    Now, I believe that motorized vehicles *should* be licensed, and I would support a ban on 49cc mopeds that aren't licensed, tagged and insured. I would also support laws preventing DUI convicts from being able to ride mopeds - it just seems wrong to me that someone who lost their license should still be able to drive.

    But those are separate debates; what we're talking about here is whether scooters have a right to use the road. And I believe they do. Nobody ever died from having to go a bit slower ... that's why they call it a speed LIMIT. Doesn't automatically entitle you to go top speed.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 15, 2008

    "I'd rather drive behind a scooter than someone on a bicycle. A lot of cyclists don't obey the laws, either, and they are much more dangerous because they are so much slower than cars."

    That is why they get hit.

  • beachbum1 Aug 15, 2008

    Real Deal...I'm with you, also I'd rather ride/drive with those on the road than cars. How many lives would not be lost but the goofy drivers with road rage etc.

  • Space Mountain Aug 15, 2008

    And I don't get why we can have bicycles and scooters on roads, but we can't have ATVs and golf carts on the road. What is the difference? It would be great to be able to take a battery operated golf cart to work and back. You wouldn't have to pay for gas at all! Just plug it int when you get to work to let it recharge for the drive back home.

  • Space Mountain Aug 15, 2008

    Maybe we should have desiganted lanes for bicycles and scooters on ALL roads. I think ti would be great if everyone that drove alone just to work and back had a scooter.

  • Space Mountain Aug 15, 2008

    I'd rather drive behind a scooter than someone on a bicycle. A lot of cyclists don't obey the laws, either, and they are much more dangerous because they are so much slower than cars. I saw one the other day turn left at a red light across two lanes of traffic.

  • revues66804 Aug 15, 2008

    "Absolutely not. I do not think that a motorized skateboard need a tag or the 10-11 year old operator need a license. That is communist thinking."

    A motorized skateboard shouldn't be on the road !

  • TheAdmiral Aug 15, 2008

    "I have had the scooter since the first of June with insurance and everything but have not been able to ride to work because I am afraid of getting a ticket."

    Go to DMV enforcement division and tell them that your not leaving until it is cleared up.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 15, 2008

    "Report after report shows that motorcycle deaths are rising. Do we really want unlicensed, uninsured scooter riders on the roads when it is obvious to all who are willing to pay attention that two wheeled vehicles pose an increased risk to the riders compared to other forms of transport?"

    You make the point. The story says that there is not a higher report of Scooter accidents. But in the same breath they say they are considered motorcycles.

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