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Lawmakers seek support for new scooter laws

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COURTESY OF ANDI LICIOUS FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
  • Courtesy of Andi Licious Flickr Creative Commons


Staff Report

Hoosiers can ask state and local officials to update laws regulating the use of motorized scooters in Indiana.

They can do so by signing a petition that launches Tuesday that's meant to gauge the level of public support for the proposed legislation.

The petition is part of a bipartisan push by state representatives and senators from the Evansville area to address a "glaring lack of laws covering these vehicles, which continue to become more and more prevalent on roadways across this state."

Similar efforts during the past two sessions of the Indiana General Assembly both failed.

According to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, the number of accidents involving scooters across the state has increased from 310 in 2004 to 1,177 in 2012.



Sen. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, and Reps. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville, and Ron Bacon, R-Chandler, the lawmakers leading the initiative, said "more needs to be done" to address the rising number of accidents involving motorized scooters.

"There are enough people concerned that something should be done that we feel the time is now to start building a consensus for legislation that covers registration, licensing, safety training and insurance for motorized scooters," they said in a joint statement.

They said the laws need to be updated to include "better definitions of what scooters are" and that lawmakers "need to make it clear that scooters must be registered and their owners must be licensed, take safety classes and have some proof of insurance."

Other officials from Evansville and Vanderburgh County, including Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann, have joined Becker, Riecken and Bacon in their push for this legislation.

Also joining them in the push for update motorized scooter laws is Karin Montgomery, a detective in the Auto Theft Division of the Evansville Police Department.

Montgomery said the current laws regulating motorized scooters are "outdated and compromise the safety of the riders and other users of our public roadways.

"We need to have changes in our laws, and my hope is that this petition drive will help show lawmakers that something must be done," she said.

The petition will be available for people to sign at a booth during the National Night Out at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Wesselman Park in Evansville.

The petition is also available online at http://www.change.org/petitions/all-governmental-units-within-the-state-of-indiana-please-update-the-laws-regarding-motorized-scooters-within-the-state-of-indiana.

TheStatehouseFile.com is a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.

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