Sunday, September 19, 2004

Covington scooter law advancing



By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

COVINGTON - A plan to enact laws regulating motorized scooters in the city is zipping along.

Covington, like other Northern Kentucky cities, is getting complaints about juveniles and adults riding scooters on busy city streets. To try to answer the concerns, Covington City Commission has outlined rules for scooter riders, and discussed it at a meeting Tuesday.

Mayor Butch Callery said he's gotten at least a dozen calls complaining about scooters on the street.

"Particularly for the smaller ones out in the street," he said. "It's dangerous because kids age 10 to 12 years old are in the right-of-way."

The ordinance requires anyone on a bicycle, foot scooter, moped, motorcycle, or motorized scooter be at least 16 years old, and licensed. It prohibits riding on sidewalks, except in the case of disabled people on a scooter.

Elsmere has also talked about regulating scooters on city streets. Police Chief Tim Greene said he doesn't want to see them on the sidewalks.

"We don't have sidewalks everywhere, so they have to come out on the street ... I think (if we allow them on the sidewalk) we're just inviting them to ride in the street," Greene said.

Edgewood recently passed an ordinance which states scooters must go 18 mph or less, stay on sidewalks unless crossing the street and yield to pedestrians.

Greene said he thinks scooters on sidewalks are a safety issue.

"We take them off the streets so cars can't hurt them, but now we're going to put them on the sidewalks where they can hurt pedestrians? It's a no-win situation," he said.

"Parents have to understand they should check out where the kids can ride them," Greene said. "It should be on private property."

Heather Buckley, owner of Soho Scooters, on Monmouth Street in Newport, said she thinks an easy way for cities to regulate motorized scooters is to consider whether the riders have Kentucky Department of Transportation certification and a VIN number for the scooter.

Buckley said she's had at least one person ask to return a $400 scooter after he found out he could not ride it in his neighborhood.

Greene said the police are not out looking to nab scooter riders.

"But if we get a complaint, we'll act on it," he said. "We don't want these kids to get hurt."

Covington City Solicitor Jay Fossett has given a copy of the ordinance to the police chief for his revision. Residents can give their input at a City Commission meeting scheduled for Oct. 12.

"There have been no accidents thus far," Callery said. "But that doesn't mean it won't happen."

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E-mail aremke@enquirer.com

What do you think?

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