Scooter Owner Says Vehicle Should Be Allowed On Streets - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/02/04

Scooter Owner Says Vehicle Should Be Allowed On Streets

Robert Eddington no longer rides his motor scooter to the store. He's afraid of getting a ticket he can't afford.

Eddington and his roommate are both disabled and neither has a driver's license. They received a pair of motor scooters as gifts several months ago.

The couple only recently learned the scooters they've come to depend on, are illegal to ride on the streets.

"We were told that you didn't need a license. So, we just figured we'd ride it just like a bike on the edge of the road," said Robert Eddington.

He says he parked his scooter after seeing a story on WLOX News which reported such vehicles are not legal to ride on the streets.

"They're buying them for kids. And we figured if a kid can ride it, we can to what we have to do," he explained.

His scooters have all the necessary safety equipment.

"This has a horn. It has turn signals and warning lights," he said, while pointing out the safety equipment.

Under Mississippi law, the scooter falls under the category of a motor vehicle. As for riding it on the streets, police say the law is clear.

"They are illegal," said Gulfport officer, Alan Weatherford.

Officer Weatherford says Gulfport police requested an opinion from the Attorney General about regulating scooters and whether the vehicles are allowed on the street.

"They replied that it was illegal. That they had to comply with the statutes. You had to have a drivers license and you had to have tail lights and insurance and stuff like that," the officer said.

Because of the growing popularity of motor scooters, many cities across the country are passing special laws to accommodate the vehicles. Moss Point is considering a new ordinance to regulate motor scooters.

"To us, these allow us to not have to pay somebody to go to the store," said Robert Eddington.

He says he'd support a new law to regulate and license the motor scooters. Until then, he'll keep his parked, knowing he can't afford the tickets he'd possibly face by taking the scooter on the streets. 

By Steve Phillips

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