[R75] Let's talk scooters (8/30/2013 - 8/31/2013)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Start Date: 8/30/2013 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 8/31/2013 End Time: 11:59 PM

You may have noticed that I've been increasingly outspoken lately on an issue which I feel deserves some attention – tightening the law regarding motor scooters. On the surface, scooters may seem like a strange thing to be talking about legislating. However, anyone whose car has ever been damaged by a scooter or has witnessed an accident involving one understands the necessity for these types of conversations all too well. 

First and foremost, as we explore this issue, I want people to remember that the primary goal should be safety. Scooters are given a different consideration than cars, trucks and motorcycles, however they have a motor just the same. Much like a basic safety instruction course is required to obtain a motorcycle license, I believe that both adults and youths wishing to operate a scooter on our public streets and highways should also be required to take a safety class first.

This would help ensure that when people drive a scooter, they are not posing a danger to themselves or those around them. As the law currently stands, if an elderly man loses his license due to signs of impairment, he could still operate a scooter. With some scooters having the potential to reach 45 miles per hour, the level of danger is still high. 

My secondary concern is in regards to registration. Increasingly, we have experienced a problem with operators simply leaving the scene after an accident. Without registration, there is no way to identify the driver if they flee. Requiring registration would not only serve as a safeguard for other drivers, but it would also encourage more accountability.

Moreover, registration would also be a safeguard to the operator in the event that their scooter is stolen. At this time, if a stolen scooter is recovered by the police, they have no way of identifying the owner in order to return it. This also means that anyone can come in and claim the scooter, and there is no means to verify. 

My third concern is the issue of insurance. In the past, this has received some opposition because people who have lost their licenses due to a DUI are typically unable to get insurance after the incident. By requiring insurance to operate a scooter, some fear this would prevent people from being able to get to work which could result in them losing their jobs. 

Despite these disagreements, this is still an issue that we need to have serious discussions about, particularly in terms of the feasibility of insuring scooters as well as the costs. I look forward to calling on experts in the insurance industry and hearing their suggestions. I believe this will help us develop reasonable and smart public policy. 

My last concern is that of licensing. Similar to obtaining insurance, this may prove difficult for those whom have lost their driver’s license. I can understand where this would cause a problem, so if these individuals have taken a safety course and registered their scooter, the issue of licensing is something that I am very open to debate on. I understand that people need to get to and from work, and I too want to ensure that these individuals are able to remain productive members of society. 

I, along with other area legislators, am collecting signatures to petition a change in the laws regarding scooters. I genuinely want to hear your thoughts on this issue, for or against any reforms. Operating a motorized vehicle is a big responsibility at any age, and it is going to take the thoughts and minds of everyone to tackle this complex issue. 

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BLT_Scooters.docx