Know the laws of the road before buying that scooter or mini-bike this year

Friday, November 19th 2004, 10:46 am
By: News On 6

Lots of folks don't know where it's safe and legal to ride scooters. That's why Tulsa area law enforcement officials want to get the word out before holiday shoppers hit the stores and illegal vehicles hit the streets.

The News on 6's Heather Lewin says when LaHonda Roberts bought a motorized scooter for her son last year, who promptly got a ticket for riding it in the street, she became one of many parents confused about what the law allows.

After seeing a significant increase in illegal use and accidents, police want consumers to know the rules before they buy. Broken Arrow Police Sgt. Ed Ferguson: "Just about anything that has a motor on it is classified as a motor vehicle in the state of Oklahoma and there are regulations and restrictions that apply to that type of device."

And as of November 1st, some of those laws changed. Most are aware that motorcycles require a license with motorcycle endorsement, registration and insurance.

Motorized scooters cause some confusion. They are now street legal for all ages, but only where the speed limit is less than 25 mph.

Motorized bicycles require a driver's license on public streets but not a cycle endorsement and you don't have to have insurance.

One of the biggest causes for concern is the mini-bike or pocket rocket. Increasing in popularity, some of these can go up to 60 miles per hour. They often come with a horn, headlight, signals, you can even buy a tag for it, but they are still not street legal. Police say crashes caused by these mini-bikes competing with traffic are skyrocketing across the country.

The new Oklahoma law requires retailers to let you know, you're buying a product you cannot legally operate on the street.

The idea is for parents to be aware before fulfilling your child's wish list; you could pay big bucks for a bike they'll have nowhere to ride. Be sure your child has the proper skills to safely control the vehicle. Don't buy them something they can't handle.

Last year more injuries involved scooters than any other toy.