ANDERSON — In the wake of a traffic accident Monday that left an Anderson man severely injured, police want you to be wary of motorized scooters and mopeds on the streets.
Lax state laws — which will become stricter in 2015 — and dire economic conditions encourage use of the two-wheeled vehicles to travel streets in cities like Anderson, authorities say, elevating the risk of personal-injury traffic accidents.
Indiana currently doesn’t require registration or a driver’s license for a motorized scooter or moped, and anyone 15 years of age or older can operate one on the streets of Indiana.
Scooters, mopeds and motorized bicycles fall under a single classification, according to Indiana code. For the sake of brevity in this article, they will be referred to in this article as motorized scooters.
To be legal on streets in Indiana, motorized scooters must be incapable of exceeding 25 mph. However, APD public information officer Chad Boynton says police officers often see these vehicles moving faster than that.
“We don’t frequently encounter them on radars, usually because most don’t travel on major thoroughfares. Most are young people in neighborhood settings,” Boynton said. “Certainly, if we feel they’re operating unsafely, we can stop them and issue a citation, depending on the situation.”
The State of Indiana estimates about 50,000 of the vehicles are in use by the public statewide, and the rate of use tends to be higher in cities like Anderson, according to Boynton.
Though widely associated with teenagers, motorized scooters are popular with many adults in Anderson. Boynton said he typically sees 10-15 motorized scooters a day during a shift.
“You’ve got a couple of primary factors,” Boynton explained. “One is simply economic. It’s much more cost-effective to purchase a moped than a car, and with the price of gas, a lot of people simply can’t afford the use of a car. So there’s a wide variety of ages and (both) genders operating them.”