*** Scooters To Get Rules In Bellevue ***
Bellevue, Washington -- 12/02/2006
The buzz of motorized foot scooters
may not be so loud in Bellevue next year.
The City Council decided this week to explore
regulating the scooters over the next several months.
The devices, powered by small gas or electric engines,
are popular with children and teens but have no city
requirements for helmets, lights, age of rider or where
they can be driven.
The noisy scooters are annoying to some residents
and dangerous because they're often driven by young
people who aren't aware of the rules of the road,
council members said.
"It is incumbent on us to protect the safety of the people
who are using our streets," said councilwoman Claudia
Balducci at the council meeting Monday.
If Bellevue decides to act, it will be one of the last
cities in King County to regulate the scooters.
In summer 2004, at the height of the scooters' popularity,
several cities passed ordinances, including Seattle, Renton,
Kirkland, Issaquah and Auburn.
Seattle, for instance, bars the scooters from sidewalks
and bike lanes and requires lights, brakes and a helmet
and that drivers be at least 16. Several other cities,
including Kirkland, Sammamish and Issaquah, bar the
scooters from streets with a speed limit over 25 mph.
Bellevue officials looked at the scooter issue a year
or two ago but got caught up in other business and
did not get around to possible regulations until now,
councilman Phil Noble said.
The council has received some complaints about the
scooters over the past three years, though it is "not
appearing to be a hot-button issue," he said.
Some council members say they're interested in requiring
scooter helmets and lights and barring the scooters from
the city's busy arterial roads.
The city also will take a look at possible regulations
for other small motorized vehicles, including Segways
and "pocket bikes," minimotorcycles about the size of
The council plans to finalize any regulations before next
summer, when use of the vehicles will be more widespread.
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