Police urge proper scooter, moped use (S.D.)

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Police urge proper scooter, moped use (S.D.)

Postby Micronaut » Fri May 20, 2005 7:42 pm

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Police urge proper scooter, moped use

Drivers are encouraged to abide by laws

By Mike Corpos

American News Writer

As summer approaches and weather becomes more conducive to riding open-air vehicles, complaints about scooter and moped riders have increased dramatically, according to the Aberdeen Police Department.

In recent weeks, the department has received a number of safety-related complaints regarding the use of mopeds and scooters.

No accidents have been reported, but the police department issued a press release this week warning moped and scooter riders to be mindful of state laws governing the vehicles' use.

State law defines a moped as a motor-driven scooter with two or three wheels.

Those with combustion engines may not have larger motors that exceed 50 cubic centimeters, and the transmission or gear system should not require shifting or clutching.

"In essence, a moped is any motorcycle if it is powered by a combustion engine of 50 cubic centimeters or less, or propelled by any power other than muscular - this includes electric - and is used on public streets and highways," the release says.

Drivers are required to be licensed or permitted drivers, but they do not need motorcycle endorsements on their licenses to drive a moped or scooter.

Drivers and passengers under 18 must wear state-approved helmets.

Also, the release says drivers must have protective eyewear of some sort, unless the moped is equipped with a windscreen high enough to protect the driver's eyes.

The motorized cycles do not need to be registered as do motorcycles or cars, but if the vehicles are to be used on public streets, they do need to be insured.

City ordinance prohibits mopeds and any other motorized vehicles from being driven on any sidewalk in the city.

If city and state regs on scooter and moped use are violated, drivers will be ticketed.

Dennis Gelling, owner of Gelling's Auto Service, which sells the motorized scooters, had a few safety tips for anyone riding, driving or planning to buy a moped or scooter.

"The biggest thing is only one person," he said, noting that many of the scooters are not meant to carry more than the driver.

Gelling also said drivers should use both the front and rear brakes simultaneously while driving a scooter. "Never take your hands off the throttle/accelerator grip," he said.

So far, most of Gelling's scooter customers have been older folks looking for something to ride around campgrounds while on vacation.

In addition to state law, South Dakota State parks also have their own rules regarding scooters and mopeds.

To operate in a state park, a moped must have a horn, mirror, headlight, brake light and brakes.

All operators must be older than 14 with a valid driver's license.

Visitors can only operate vehicles on designated park roads, not on paved or unpaved trails, beaches or shorelines.

"Also, you need to use extra caution while braking on a wet road or gravel," he said. "They're a light vehicle and will slip more easily than a car or motorcycle."

Gelling said eye protection is a very important safety measure when riding a moped or scooter.

"Especially so dirt and bugs don't get in your eyes," he said.

With some models getting up to 100 miles per gallon, Gelling said he began selling the scooters as an alternative for people looking to escape high gas prices.

(605) 622-2310 or 1-800-925-4100 ext. 310; mcorpos@aberdeennews.com
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