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26 Nov 2003 07:55:48 Ed Murtagh.

proposed letter to county council As many of you may know, there have been a lot of safety and noise concerns about the use of motorized scooters in our community. These vehicles are so new that vehicle regulations do not directly adddress them. Below is the proposed letter to the county council expressing our concerns. The Upper Sligo Civic Association may also be interested in signing on to this letter. Let me know what you think about the letter. Thanks goes out to Sara Bothuis for taking the time to prepare the letter.

Dear County Council Member,

We are concerned about the growing use of "motorized" scooters in our neighborhoods. The scooters appear to be operated by persons under the age of 18 who are not wearing helmets or obeying traffic laws. The scooters are used on our neighborhood streets, sidewalks, and on park property
Including the trails of Sligo Creek Park where motorized vehicles are prohibited. The scooters have been observed operating with passengers aboard and after dark when they are particularly difficult to see. In addition to the safety hazards posed by unlicensed “motorized” scooter operators sharing roads, sidewalks, and trails with pedestrians and automobiles, there is a concern about the noise pollution associated with the "motorized" scooters.

We understand from Sgt. Tom Harmon of the 3rd District Traffic Section that the Maryland Vehicle Law does govern the operation of motor scooters but not the operation of the "motorized" scooter (see note below on distinction between motor scooters and "motorized" scooters"). The omission of a reference to "motorized" scooters can create, according to Sgt. Harmon, prosecutorial problems when enforcement is attempted. We are seeking new laws regarding motorized scooters to ensure public safety and environmental quality. Specifically, we would like laws banning the use of the "motorized" scooters on public roads by unlicensed drivers. Operational competence and understanding of traffic laws is no less important for operators of "motorized" scooters than for the car and motorcycle/motor scooter drivers with whom roads are shared. Additionally, motorized scooters should be included with other motorized vehicles banned from park hiker-biker
Paths and limited to areas designated as lawful areas for their use to avoid dangerous interactions between scooter operators and pedestrians and drivers. Lastly, we would like to have laws governing the allowable noise level of a "motorized" scooter.

Thank you,

Sligo Headwaters Civic Association

Note on distinction between motor scooters and "motorized" scooters:
Sgt. Tom Harmon provided the following definition of "motorized" scooters as opposed to motor scooters: Scooters are defined as: 2 wheeled vehicles, with handlebars and designed to be stood on by the operator. Now that manufactures have added small engines both electric and gas and in some cases a seat to the original push scooter, the law does not specifically address this vehicle or give specifications on engine size. The Maryland Vehicle Law does regulate the operation of motor scooters, which are
Defined as, a: non-pedal vehicle, has a seat for the operator, has two wheels, a step through chassis, with the capacity of a 50 cc engine. The old Vespa would fall into this category.

17 Nov 2003 10:51:23 Daniel Hellerstein.

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