The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Opinion

July 9, 2014

Editorial: Indiana should tighten motorized scooter laws

Question: What goes on two wheels, has a gasoline engine, travels at speeds of up to (actually, more than) 25 mph and can be driven on streets, roads and highways (but not interstates) in Indiana without a license?

Answer: Motorized scooters, motorized bicycles and mopeds. (These will be referred to simply as “scooters” for the sake of brevity in this editorial.)

In Indiana, anyone 15 years of age or older can ride a scooter on public roadways without a license. For those 18 or older, no helmet is required.

A scooter, no helmet and no license can be dangerous, when mixed with car and truck traffic. Scooters, because they are small and relatively quiet, can be difficult for other motorists to see. And the vehicle offers little protection for its rider.

A recent accident in Anderson highlights the potential danger of scooters on roads. Tyrone Stables Sr., 52, Anderson, was seriously injured June 30 when he and his scooter collided with the passenger side of a car in the intersection of Main and 29th streets.

The driver of the car, Calvin D. Shelton, 19, Anderson, reportedly turned in front of Stables, causing the collision. Shelton has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

When you add alcohol to any traffic situation, it multiplies the volatility of the mix, and it should be pointed out that Stables was apparently breaking no laws.

Which brings us back to Indiana’s scooter laws, which will be made marginally tougher when the new year rolls around. Scooter operators will be required to register their vehicles, and they’ll have to pass a “signage” test.

But they’ll still be able to drive their two-wheelers on Hoosier streets and roads without a license, and they’ll be allowed to drive faster than before. Currently, the speed limit for scooters is 25 mph. Beginning next year, it will be 35 mph.

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