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Motor Scooter Safety Warning

Motor Scooter Safety Warning

Posted - May 10, 2004 at 9:46 p.m.



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Jed Boal reportingYou've probably noticed more people, young and old, riding around on motorized scooters lately.

While it looks fun, police are concerned that few of them are following safety guidelines or the law.

This was the scene yesterday in Salt Lake City: Two kids, aages nine and 11, riding motorized scooters in the street ran into a car.

Lamar Blair/ Salt Lake City Police Dept.: "The first scooter kind of flipped up and hit the windshield of the vehicle and bounced off."

The second boy bounced off the bumper. Neither wore a helmet.

Police and E-R doctors say these scooters are more dangerous than parents realize.

Dr. Paul Bryan/ Emergency Physician, Primary Children's Medical Center: "We can have life-threatening and fatal injuries related to these, especially when another vehicle is involved."

Motorized scooters are surging in popularity.

These so-called "pocket bikes" are the latest craze. At about $500, they can go 45 miles per hour.

Randy Hall/ The Point Powersports: "It started over in Japan, came over to the United States, and they're catching on like wildfire."

If you decide that the pocket bike, or the motorized scooter is for you or your kids, make sure you get a helmet that can handle a serious fall. Not only does it make good sense, it's the law if you're under 18.

Randy Hall just started selling the pocket bikes.

He says scooters and pocket bikes CAN be safe, with the right gear. So I put on a helmet, a padded jaket and hard-lined gloves and gave it a try.

It's a bit awkward for an adult, but fun.

As far as the law, it's not crystal clear in all communities.

Randy Hall/The Point Powersports: "These are so new, they're trying to compensate with new laws to take care of them."

In general, riders under 16 must be under the direct supervision of an adult.

Riders must obey helmet laws, and cannot ride on roads with a posted speed of more than 25 mph.

That leaves private property and neighborhood streets in some communities, if you don't break the speed limit.

For more information on scooter law in your community, contact local law enforcement.

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