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How the Yanks deal with pocket bikes

Discussion in 'Scooters' at netrider.net.au started by vic, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. http://enterprise.southofboston.com/articles/2004/11/23/news/news/news03.txt

    Statewide ban puts brakes on pocketbikes

    By Terence J. Downing, Enterprise staff writer

    Steve O'Brien has sold more than 1,000 pocketbikes and scooters at his four Big Boys Toys stores since last June.

    "They're really popular. We sold them as soon as we'd get them in. We were buying from whatever dealer we could get them from," said O'Brien, who was at his Silver City Galleria store in Taunton Monday.

    But now O'Brien is wondering what impact a new state law restricting the controversial vehicles might have on his sales.

    O'Brien is running a Christmas special: a SunL-X7 for $599, marked down from $699.

    The new state law, approved last week, may greatly reduce the number of people who end up driving the popular minimotorcycles.

    The new law bars unlicensed drivers from using motorized scooters and mini-bikes.

    The law also requires drivers of the vehicles to wear helmets, remain on the right side of the road at all times and keep their speed below 20 mph. Passengers are not allowed.

    The scooter must also be equipped with signals for stopping and turning.

    The law means that people too young to obtain an automobile learner's permit will no longer be able to use motorized scooters. Those who violate the new law will face penalties of up to $25 for a first offense, up to $50 for a second offense and up to $100 for all subsequent offenses.

    The law does not regulate the use of battery-powered Segways, which were introduced three years ago.

    Middleboro police Sgt. David Mackiewicz says the law is overdue and finally gives police the enforcement tool needed to get illegal bikes off the streets.

    "Shame on those parents who bought them for their kids," said Mackiewicz.

    "Like anything else, it was a fad that was getting out of hand. It was getting so bad the town was investigating passing a bylaw restricting them. We were getting more complaints over the past six months to a year," said Mackiewicz. "Before, all we could do is talk to the parents about it."

    Brockton, Raynham, Wareham and Stoughton were among the communities looking at ways to regulate them or ban them before passage of the new law.

    "It's like these parents who buy quads (all-terrain vehicles) for their kids. They have a postage stamp-sized lot and they buy them a quad. Where do you expect them to ride it?" said Mackiewicz.

    "I wouldn't let my 12- or 13-year-old ride around on them," he said. "This law gives us the means of enforcement for getting them off the street if they don't belong there."

    He said police will order the vehicles towed or call parents to pick them up.

    "If I stop someone who is violating the law, I'm not going to fine them and then let them drive home. What happens if they're 200 yards down the road and they get hit by a dump truck?" said Mackiewicz.

    "I think they are incredibly dangerous. They're a tragedy waiting to happen," said Bridgewater police Lt. Kevin Chiocca. "There needed to be some regulation. They are very low and very hard to see. A lot of parents were willing to buy them for children, lets face it.

    "The reason we don't let children drive motor vehicles is because they haven't reached the age where their judgment is good yet," he said.

    "Hopefully, this law will help to regulate them and help put them in the hands of responsible people," said Chiocca.

    Brockton police Capt. Emanuel Gomes, head of the traffic division, said he directed officers to begin stopping and towing the pocketbikes last spring, using the state motor vehicle statute Chapter 90 that covers any vehicle that exceeds 25 mph.

    "As far as we were concerned they already fell under the state statute. We stopped them, cited them for being unregistered and uninsured and towed them," said Gomes.

    "They were becoming a huge hazard. There were fatalities in other jurisdictions and we wanted to offset that here by taking action. You can literally drive one of those right under an SUV. Everybody has an SUV," said Gomes.

    Gomes said the new law will give police tools to crack down on other motorized vehicles, including motorized scooters and skateboards.

    Taunton police Sgt. Paul D. Roderick,
  2. i love that line 4 lines from the bottom... "Everybody has an SUV"

    ohhh dear.

    anyways i would tend to agree with that article. on private property, away from traffic, they are perfectly alright. On normal roads, they're a serious hazard, and the kids that ride them are extremely likely to compromise their safety and that of others without much forethought.