(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) - A bill that would replace Indiana's obsolete scooter laws moves forward and local leaders are cautiously optimistic about it's future.
Indiana House Bill 1343 was unanimously passed by the Roads and Transportation Committee this morning. Among other things, the bill would require scooter operators to register their vehicle with the b-m-v. It would also require scooter operators to attach a license plate to their vehicle.
Evansville Police Sergeant Jason Cullum, City Councilwoman Missy Mosby and others were in attendance of today's hearing. They say it's a step in the right direction and they will continue to fight for this bill.
One of the big issues with what officials call the state's 'obsolete' laws is how murky they tend to be. Chris Daniels, a representative for the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, said state courts have conflicting opinions on a number of cases.
"We need a definition. People need to know how to obey the law," Daniels said. "When somebody doesn't know how to obey the law and they're violating the law, that's a broken law. "
House Bill 1343 aims to change that by requiring the registration of scooters at the BMV. The legislation also requires a license plate be attached to the scooter. In total, would cost scooter drivers $27.30 to register their vehicle, officials said.
"Scooters are easily bought and sold because there's no requirement to register them," said Sgt. Cullum. "Without a BMV registration, there's no way to track ownership. Without a standard registration, we're not able to locate an owner. That information can mean the difference between a successful criminal investigation and prosecution or just another scooter rusting away in an impound lot."
The legislation would also require scooter operators to have a motor driven cycle endorsement on a state-issued ID card. The drivers of faster scooters, considered Class A, would require a valid drivers license. Sgt. Cullum cited some startling numbers in his testimony to lawmakers.
- In 2008, there were nine accidents involving scooters
- In 2010, there were 31 accidents involving scooters.
- In 2012, there were 90 accidents involving scooters.
- 67% of the scooter-related accidents in 2012 resulted in an injury to the scooter driver or someone in the other vehicle.
- 63% of scooter drivers had a suspended license at the time of the accident.
- 92% of scooter drivers were not allowed to drive a car at the time of the accident.
Sgt. Cullum also said 10 scooter drivers who were involved in accidents in 2012 were considered habitual traffic offenders.
"Implementing any type of training should have a positive impact," Sgt. Cullum said. "The increased number of riders with some level of safety training should reduce the number of accidents."
Similar bills have passed through committees over the last three years but never with unanimous support, Sgt. Cullum said. The bill now advances to the full House for consideration. If passed, it would take effect January 1, 2015.