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Vancouver scooter hearing Oct. 18

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  • Geneb
    *** Vancouver scooter hearing Oct. 18 *** Vancouver, Washington -- 10/06/2004 Vancouver temporarily backed away from becoming the second city in Clark County
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2004
      *** Vancouver scooter hearing Oct. 18 ***

      Vancouver, Washington -- 10/06/2004
      Vancouver temporarily backed away from becoming the
      second city in Clark County to regulate motorized scooters.

      The Vancouver City Council on Monday night postponed a
      crackdown on the increasingly popular urban vehicles, which
      many complain are dangerous and noisy. Washougal passed
      an ordinance regulating the scooters on Aug. 2.

      The Washougal City Council set 16 as the minimum age for
      scooter operators and banned scooters on sidewalks, trails
      or city streets where the speed limit is more than 25 mph.

      Instead of following suit, the Vancouver council unanimously
      agreed to hear testimony Oct. 18 on whether to allow riders
      as young as 14 and whether to permit scooters in bike lanes
      or on the far right side of city streets.

      Camas and Battle Ground also are exploring scooter ordinances.

      The scooters are essentially skateboards with handlebars
      powered by small gasoline or electric motors. Ranging in
      price from $200 to more than $1,000, the scooters have
      brake levers, hand-operated accelerators, and some have seats.

      At present, there are no regulations on scooter operations
      in Vancouver, and many children are riding them.

      Vancouver's proposed ordinance would require operators to
      wear a helmet. It also would mandate that scooters be equipped
      with lights after dark and that gas-powered models have mufflers.
      The ordinance would allow scooters to be impounded in case of
      a violation; it also calls for fines of up to $250.

      Washougal has seen scooter problems nearly disappear since
      it passed its ordinance this summer, said Washougal Police
      spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Yamashita.

      "We had a grace period after we passed the ordinance, and let
      everybody find out about it, and there hasn't been any problem
      since then," she said.

      City Clerk Annie Bocchi in Battle Ground said an ordinance
      there is still "only in the talking stage." In Camas, the city council
      handed off the scooter regulation issue to its high school advisory
      committee in June, asking the teens to debate it and bring back a
      proposal this fall.

      Cities including Seattle, Wenatchee, Puyallup, Ocean Shores,
      Mount Vernon, Stanwood, Kirkland, Lake Stevens, Sedro-Woolley
      and Burlington have scooter ordinances.

      Vancouver council members said they're afraid the scooters are
      unsafe, especially when young drivers operate at night without
      lights. Scooter injuries are rising across the nation. The U.S.
      Consumer Product Safety Commission said there were 5,900
      injuries associated with motorized scooters in the United States
      in 2002, compared with 1,330 in 1999.

      Vancouver scooter rider Tim Connolly was among those
      objecting to some ordinance provisions Monday night, while
      supporting the helmet requirement and the age limit.

      "I don't agree with limiting them to 25-mph roads," Connelly said
      in an earlier interview. "Adults have been flying under the radar with
      these, and lots of my friends use them for lots of reasons, including
      going to work and avoiding buying a second car. Mine gets 200 miles
      per gallon."

      Council members said they wanted to
      allow scooters to operate, but safely.

      Previously: An influx of motorized electric and gasoline-powered
      scooters in Vancouver triggered complaints about noise and safety.

      What's new: The Vancouver City Council on Monday night set a
      public hearing for Oct. 18 on an ordinance requiring scooter
      operators to be at least 14 years old. It also will mandate that
      scooters be equipped with lights and mufflers, stay off city sidewalks
      and trails and operate only in bikeways or the far right lanes of city

      What's next: Once the ordinance is adopted, scooters may be
      impounded if riders violate the ordinance. Fines of up to $250
      could be levied for violations.

      All Things Northwest in BMX!
      ***** Gene`s BMX *****
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