General Assembly May Regulate Scooters

By: Lisa Ferrari
By: Lisa Ferrari

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Powered scooters sent 10,000 people to emergency rooms last year according to the federal consumer product safety commission.

One of those was nine-year-old Tekeyah Williams of Charlottesville. She died New Year's Eve crossing the street on her new motorized scooter.

Now the general assembly wants to regulate scooters.

No license, no insurance, no inspection, and no helmet, that's the law right now for moped drivers in Virginia.

Currently you only have to be 16-years-old to drive a moped, but there are no age regulations or laws for scooter riders.

"As you go from bicycles, [where] anyone can ride them, to mopeds, where you have to be 16, to motorcycles, where you have to actually be a licensed driver. You're trying to figure out how these scooters and other things fit in," said Delegate Rob Bell.

"You've got those little razor electric scooters. You've got those little skateboards [with] gas motors on the back, you've got those little pocket rocket motorcycles that look just like a real motorcycle, but they're really tiny [with a] very very low seat height. So on some of these things, you're standing, some of them you're sitting, but all of them generally are hard to see. Small. It's almost as if you are riding a toy in the street and that's not safe," said Sgt. Mike Farruggio of the Charlottesville Police Department.

The Virginia General Assembly Transportation Committee is looking at all of these items as well as powered wheel chairs hoping to decipher what category they fit into and how they should be regulated.

"If you have a scooter and it can go over 45 miles per hour, is that something we want to limit to people over 16?" asked Bell.

The main concern is children's safety and how to make sure kids can still have fun while playing it safe.

In July, the state of Connecticut was successful in banning all mini motorcycles and scooters, but the Virginia state assembly has not said that they would take things that far.

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