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Scooter Safety a Real Concern

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Colonel Knight with young scooter owners and their parents.

Among a growing concern for the safety of Florida's citizens--children and adults alike--the Florida Highway Patrol has prepared a public service announcement (PSA) on the subject of scooter safety. The 30-second PSA was developed to help increase parents' awareness of the safety hazards associated with the popular motorized scooters. Many members of the public are not familiar with the current law regarding motorized scooters. FHP members and their children helped produce the PSA, which is in the process of being released statewide. Shown in the above photo, left to right, are Corporal Chip Bedingfield, his son, Trey, Colonel Chris Knight, Heather Hunter, and her Mom, Lieutenant Lisa Hunter.

Many of the smaller scooters most popular with children and teens resemble a skateboard with handles to which a small gasoline engine has been added. Regardless of the type of scooter being used, according to Florida law (322.01(26), F.S.), all motorized scooters are considered motor vehicles. In addition, because scooters do not have license plates or registrations, the law does not allow them on any public roads--even if the operator has a driver's license as required for all motor vehicle operators under Florida law (322.03, F.S.). Many parents and children are not aware that it is illegal to ride scooters on sidewalks or roadways, and that if they are caught doing so they can be subject to fines. At this time, motorized scooters can only be ridden on private property.

Heather Smith demonstrating the proper place to ride a scooter--in her own driveway.
Heather Smith demonstrates the proper place
to ride a scooter--in her own driveway.

FHP's new PSA depicts both the improper (illegal) use of scooters on sidewalks and roadways and the correct use of the vehicle ridden on private property only. In the video, FHP warns motorists to be on the lookout for motorized scooters illegally operating on our Florida roadways and sidewalks--especially those operated by children. Florida legislators and law enforcement officials had voiced concerns over the safety of motorized scooters even before a recent crash killed a twelve-year-old boy who drove his scooter into a pick-up truck in Boca Raton. "The legislature regularly reviews the statutes governing motor vehicles in light of new developments, including the emergence of new types of vehicles," said Fred Dickinson, Executive Director of the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, "We'll continue to work with legislators as they address these issues."

Lieutenant Hunter talks with her daughter Heather about being safe on her scooter.
Lieutenant Lisa Hunter talks with her daughter Heather about being safe on her scooter.

 

Corporal Bedingfield helping son Trey put on his helmet before riding his scooter at home.
Corporal Chip Bedingfield helps son Trey put on his helmet before riding his scooter at home.

In the meantime, parents must use their best judgment regarding the use of scooters. "Many children who are too young to have a driver's license received a motorized scooter as a Christmas gift," said Colonel Chris Knight, "Because they've never driven a large vehicle such as a car or truck, they're unfamiliar with traffic laws. Often, they're also oblivious to traffic hazards and to the problems that drivers of larger vehicles face--problems such as blind spots, slick roads, and long stopping distances." Therefore, as a safety precaution and because it violates current state law, motorized scooters have no place on our roadways! Additional information on motorized scooters is available on the DHSMV Website.

 

 
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