New Indiana law will add motorized scooter rules

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MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — Supporters say a new state law tightening Indiana’s rules on motorized scooters should make roads safer and clear up confusion among police agencies about how to regulate them when it takes effect in January.

Some Indiana lawmakers and police agencies had pushed for years for additional regulations for scooters, which have created safety concerns as they’ve surged in popularity.

A measure Gov. Mike Pence signed into law this year will require operators of all motorized scooters to register their vehicles starting Jan. 1, 2015.

State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, the bill’s sponsor, said the maximum speed for scooters, also known as mopeds, will rise to 35 mph, although their owners still won’t need to have insurance.

But owners will now be required to have a license plate from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles that’s a different color than a motorcycle plate. They’ll also have to have valid state ID and pass a road sign test.

Smith, who sponsored his bill for five years before it passed the General Assembly, said he kept introducing it for safety reasons. Smith said many scooter owners don’t follow traffic laws.

“This is a good step in making the roads safer,” Smith told The Times of Munster (http://bit.ly/1otWBrA ) of the law, which also will bar passengers on scooters.

The law also will require scooter dealers and manufacturers to title the motorize bikes properly.

Mike McIntire, who owns Cycle Sport Yamaha in Hobart, said that until the new law takes effect, police jurisdictions will continue to enforce the existing law differently.

“I’m glad the law’s going to change because it’s such a mess now,” he said. “If you ask a reserve cop what’s the law on mopeds they don’t have a clue. You ask a full-time career cop and only a half or about a third really know what the law is.”

Indiana BMV spokesman Josh Gillespie said the situation is confusing but he believes it will be cleared up Jan 1.

“We know this is obviously a big education effort,” he said. “There will be a big effort on our part.”

Gillespie said the BMV plans to update its website soon with information on motor-driven cycles.

He said registration will be required of everyone — both operators who purchase mopeds after Jan. 1 and current owners of the motorized cycles.

Gillespie said the new law should also help combat the theft of scooters because they’ll all require registration.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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