Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

July 6, 2004 > Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Mini Motorcycles

Dear Editor:

The recent unsigned article on mini motorcycles is not only full of vague writing, but outright errors.

The article states that "Scooters, defined in section 407.5 of the California Vehicle Code, are built with floorboards and a 'post seat....' " The statute you cite says nothing about post seats or floorboards. Instead, if you had read the statute, the definining characteristic of a "motorized scooter" is that it is "any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, is designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, and is powered by an _electric_ motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion." A Segway, for instance, qualifies as a scooter.

The article is unclear about whether you equate "mini motorcycles" with "pocketbikes." You state the former has a top speed of 35 mph or so, while the latter is "very fast ... a virtual ground-based missile." Which is it?

Finally, thirteen paragraphs into the article, you state that mini motorcycles cannot be legally driven on city streets because they cannot be licensed, while still remaining ambiguous about which Vehicle Code category mini motorcycles fit into. They are, in fact, "motor-driven cycles" without the required registration (Veh Code 4000(a)), insurance (Veh Code 16028(a)), or vehicle safety equipment (Veh Code 24002(b)) -- even if the rider has a motorcycle license and DOT helmet.

Yet, in the fourteenth paragraph you imply that a rider with a motorcycle endorsement on his/her license could legally ride a mini motorcycle on public streets.

Please spend more time researching and writing your articles.

Frank Langben

The article was heavily researched and reviewed by a knowledgeable traffic enforcement officer prior to print. If you are still confused about the law, it might be beneficial to speak with one of the officers listed at the bottom of the article about these small "motor-driven cycles." Ed

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