Some Indiana scooters won’t pass muster in Niles

Published 1:48 pm Saturday, August 23, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- They can be bought in Indiana, but you won't be allowed to use them within the city of Niles.
The electric scooters in question, which over the last few months have become increasingly popular among area youth, are according to city ordinance, not legal for use within city limits.
The scooters, which range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars and can reach speeds of 25 to 30 mph, come in a variety of shapes.
Some of them look like regular scooters, whereas others are more like your typical man-powered push scooter.
Capt. Jim Merriman, Niles City Police, advises people to do research before investing in any electrically powered scooter.
Merriman said one woman, who was out with her two sons about a month ago, was stopped by a city police officer because her sons were riding scooters in an area within the city where the use of them is prohibited.
The woman, Merriman said, told the officer she had paid $3,000 for the two scooters.
That seems like a considerable investment, especially if usage of them is limited to private property.
Merriman's biggest concern is seeing youth, or anyone else riding these scooters that could cause injury to themselves or others.
Merriman said a couple who went to the Secretary of States Office to register their scooter as a moped were unable to do so.
Julie Pierce, a Secretary of States office spokes person, said it's not possible to register any push scooter as a moped.
She said according to state law, a moped is defined as a two- or three-wheeled vehicle which is equipped with a motor that doesn't exceed 50 cubic centimeters piston displacement, produces 2.0 brake horsepower or less and cannot propel the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 mph on a level surface.
Pierce also said the engine shall not require the driver to shift gears while driving. That means as a long as the scooters which look like mopeds, and not like push-scooters and satisfy the requirements as defined by state law of what a moped is, they can be driven within city limits.
Merriman, who said police have not been actively targeting scooter users yet, sees scooters in the downtown area as a problem along the same line as skateboards, bikes and roller blades.