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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ind Gov't. - "Lawmakers to consider Indiana's scooter law"

That is the headline to this long WTHR story reported by Sandra Chapman. It begins:

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana is tackling dangerous loopholes in state laws uncovered earlier this year by 13 Investigates. Now there's action at the Statehouse, and even one of Indiana's top courts is weighing in as the fatalities climb. * * *

Ronnie Jackson traveled some 20 miles on State road 19 on a scooter designed to go 25 to 35 miles per hour. Under current state law, they're only prohibited on the interstate. But his widow says he had his illegally modified to go much faster.

"His went up to 60mph...He had it bored out," said Jackson.

Lawmakers and scooter industry supporters admit there's a problem, but question how far changes should go.

"We must think of the people, the majority of scooter riders on fixed incomes. People whose lives depend on that scooter," said George Hawkins, Scooter Industry representative.

A bill tabled in the spring called for title and insurance for scooters and mopeds under 50cc's to ensure riders take personal and financial responsibility. Right now if you hit one on the road, chances are you're stuck with the bill.

Just ask Evansville Police. That city reports 49-property damage accidents involving scooters. None of the drivers were insured, ten were habitual traffic offenders and eight were suspended. * * *

The Indiana Court of Appeals is also criticizing Indiana lawmakers over its outdated scooter laws. It overturned a speeding ticket issued to a scooter driver because of conflicting standards between motorcycles and scooters.

Nationwide, 37 states already require licensing, title and insurance. Representative Milo Smith says it's time Indiana catches up. New legislation is expected next year.

Lawmakers are exploring titles and insurance to make it easier for police to track small mopeds or scooters. They also hope the insurance requirement will make it harder for suspended drivers to ride while ensuring parents of 15-year-olds who ride will take some financial responsibility. The BMV says the extra fees would generate about $78,000 in state revenue.

The COA opinion referenced is the July 26, 2011 opinion in Michael J. Lock v. State of Indiana. See the ILB summary here, 4th case.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 21, 2011 08:56 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions | Indiana Government | Indiana Law