Pocket rocket riders may soon lose some of their flame. TheCheney City Council is considering an ordinance to regulate the useof the popular motorized scooters around town. The proposedordinance currently outlines standards regarding equipmentspecifications and rider use.
Encouraged by the City Council Public Safety Committee, theproposed ordinance mandates that all scooters have a functioningheadlight, rear reflector, brake and muffler. The ordinance alsorestricts riders from traveling on streets with speed limits above25 mph, and on sidewalks, pathways or parks. It sets the minimumage for riders at 14, requires helmets and prohibitspassengers.
“We’re trying to put some guidelines concerning useand safety,” said Teresa Stueckle, chairperson of the PublicSafety Committee and Cheney city councilwoman. “We began tosee an accumulation of use on city streets. It wasinevitable.”
The current state law prevents local governments from requiringregistration of scooters, but does allow local ordinances toencourage safe use. Many cities in Washington have passed or arecurrently processing ordinances similar to Cheney’s. Alreadyobserving a standing helmet law, Spokane is in the process ofdrafting a similar ordinance with other restrictions on rider age,scooter noise and regulations regarding driving on arterials andsidewalks.
Cheney City Council could pass the ordinance in as little as amonth. If passed, transgressors could find themselves faced with amaximum $50 fine. There have already been problems. Although noaccidents have been reported, Rick Campbell, acting chief of Cheneypolice said complaints have been made regarding noise, operatinglocation, and riders. “We’ve seen (ages) from seven to27 using them” said Campbell.
EWU Police Chief Thomas McGill said, “There were a fewriding on campus, but they were contacted and it is no longer anissue.”
There have been no accidents or other problems reported from theEastern campus.
A recent Washington State Patrol media release dated Sept. 27states, “pocket bikes may not be legally operated on publicroads…or anyplace prohibiting the use of motorizedvehicles.” It follows several Washington codes describingequipment requirements not met by Pocket bikes.
Pocket scooters, also known as pocket rockets, mini-choppers,pocket bikes or pocket choppers, cost anywhere from$200–$1,000 and have unmodified top speeds of 35-45 mph.