Sunday, April 12, 2009

Something smells like money!

It never takes long. As soon as something becomes popular, politicians suddenly see it as a way to make money. Of course, they couch it in such things as "protection of public safety," and so on, but really? Do they think we are that stupid?

By now, all of my readers should be aware that scooter sales hit record numbers last year. That isn't even counting the sale of Chinese scooters. Since then, several states have moved to change their laws concerning these vehicles. Mopeds and scooters fall under varying degrees of regulation, depending upon the state in which they are used. Some states, like Pennsylvania, have a fairly clear definition of all motor vehicle types and have been requiring registration on scooters for a long time. Others, like California, treat even small 50cc scooters as motorcycles and require the same of riders of Goldwings or Vespas. Still others have little to no requirements for riders of scooters or mopeds, and may even fail to properly differentiate between the two vehicle types, simply labeling both as "moped," despite the obvious lack of operable pedals on a scooter.

North Carolina is making changes, and there is a bill on the table in Nevada. There are rumors of changes to Massachusetts law and I vaguely recall something about changes to Virginia's regulations as well (but cannot find reference to it at the moment). These states previously had little to no requirement for these vehicles. No registration, insurance, and, in some cases, no license. That is all changing.

Personally, I don't see it as a bad change. Scooters are motor vehicles, and are just as dangerous as any other motorized conveyance. It makes sense for scootsters to have a motorcycle license and insurance. Registration is a bit of a non issue for me, but a licensed and insured operator should go without saying.

There is, of course, a bit of an outcry from those who are facing these changes, and to some extent, I understand, but on the other hand scooter registration is nothing new for most of the rest of the country, so stop whining (I'm only teasing of course).

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