Reader wonders about rules for scooters


Published: Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:45 p.m.

Lots of people are now riding scooters around town and it’s safe to say some of them are slow.

The scooter explosion prompted Mike O’Keefe to write with some questions about the vehicles and some encounters he has had.

One involved scooters on U.S. 441 that could not reach the 65 mph speed limit.

“Both times this scooter ... caused massive traffic slowdowns as traffic backed up trying to get around the scooter, who was definitely in the travel lane. Very dangerous situation, as traffic was quickly coming up on this scooter,” he wrote.

Another encounter was on Florida’s Turnpike when O’Keefe was on his motorcycle and was passed by a scooter.

“(The) scooter was obviously capable of doing 80+ mph, but I wonder if a restriction exists on limited access highways,” he said.

Florida law has statutes on motorcycles and mopeds. But the laws do not expressly relate to scooters.

A moped by definition has pedals and an engine that is not capable of producing speeds of more than 30 mph. They are required to stay as far to the right as possible on roads.

But mopeds are rare, said Gainesville Police Sgt. Joe Raulerson.

“The issue that we have seen is, who has a moped anymore? Not many (scooters) are made with pedals, most motors are larger than 50cc and can go faster than 30 mph,” Raulerson said in an email. “That changes the designation from a moped to a motorcycle and all safety rules would then apply to that rider. Some of the ‘scooters’ we are seeing are over 9 horsepower, 150cc and are capable of speeds over 65 mph and those are considered a motorcycle.”

Raulerson added that bicycles powered by a small gas motor are illegal on roads.

“Bicycles are not designed to have gas motors and according to (statutes) can only be propelled solely by human power,” he said.

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