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IMPORTANT HOLIDAY SAFETY ALERT

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Contact:
Major Ernesto Duarte
Florida Highway Patrol
850-487-3139

For Release November 22, 2004:

Tallahassee - Over the last several years, motorized scooters have become more and more popular in Florida. As a result of the increased popularity of these vehicles, the number of injuries and deaths associated with the operation of these vehicles has risen as well. The Florida Highway Patrol wants to caution parents of the dangers associated with the operation of motorized scooters in anticipation of the Christmas holiday shopping season. Numerous hazards are associated with the operation of these vehicles on a public right-of-way. Many of the smaller scooters most popular with children and teens resemble a skateboard with handles to which a small gasoline engine has been added. According to Florida law, a motorized scooter is defined as any vehicle not having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels, and not capable of propelling the vehicle at a speed greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground. Therefore, motorized scooters are not considered motor vehicles and do not have license plates or registrations. In addition, Florida law does not allow them to be operated on any public roads, even if the operator has a driver's license as required for all motor vehicle operators under Florida law. Many parents and children are not aware that it is also illegal to ride scooters on sidewalks or roadways, and that if they are caught doing so they can be subject to fines. At this time, motorized scooters can only be ridden on private property.

The Florida Highway Patrol has prepared a public service announcement (PSA) on the subject of scooter safety. The 30-second PSA was developed to help increase parents' awareness of the safety hazards associated with the popular motorized vehicle. FHP's new PSA depicts both the improper (illegal) use of scooters on sidewalks and roadways and the correct (legal) use of the vehicle ridden on private property only. In the video, FHP warns motorists to be on the lookout for motorized scooters being illegally operated on our Florida roadways and sidewalks—especially those operated by children. "Many children who are too young to have a driver's license may receive a motorized scooter as a Christmas gift," said Colonel Chris Knight, "Unfortunately, because they've never driven a vehicle such as a car or truck, they're unfamiliar with traffic laws. Often, they're also oblivious to traffic hazards and to the problems that drivers of larger vehicles face." Therefore, as a safety precaution and because it violates current state laws, motorized scooters have no place on our roadways! You can view our PSA Scooter Safety by visiting our website at www.flhsmv.gov/fhp.

 


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