City's ban on scooters makes little sense


August 17, 2002

Baltimore's ban on scooters and mopeds is senseless and unfair ("Uneasy riders of Baltimore," Aug. 5).

In European cities such as Paris and London, scooters are an accepted and viable means of transportation. In the United States, scooters are widely ridden in Los Angeles and San Francisco because they are easy to park, get high gas mileage and cost less to maintain and insure than a car.

In Baltimore, I have ridden a Targa LX moped for the past four years as an alternative to my car, and I have put 5,000 miles on it while consuming only 41 gallons of gasoline (I get 120 miles per gallon). My car would have consumed about 227 gallons of gas, 186 more than the moped, over the same distance.

If 10,000 other Baltimoreans had similarly ridden a moped or scooter over the past four years, approximately 186,000 gallons of gasoline would have been conserved.

For this my vehicle is subject to impoundment and a $160 recovery fee?

The City Council should lift Baltimore's scooter-moped ban to promote conservation and efficiency and to enable Baltimoreans to cut transportation and insurance costs while enjoying the open road.

Peter G. Smith


John Orr is ahead of his time. This motor-scooter enthusiast didn't deserve to have his bike impounded and have to pay $160 to get it back. And the City Council was wrong to ban scooters in the summer of 2000.

As reporter Laura Vozzella pointed out, scooters are all the rage in Europe. Having just returned from a holiday in Italy and Greece, I can verify the popularity of the commuter-friendly vehicles, which use little gas and are easy to get around in.

Just because a few people in Baltimore may use the scooters for criminal purposes shouldn't bar their availability. People use automobiles to sell illegal drugs, but no one is suggesting that cars be banned.

Councilman Nicholas C. D'Adamo Jr.'s bill to make the scooters legal again should be passed without delay.

William Hughes


I read with interest Laura Vozzella's article "Uneasy riders of Baltimore" regarding scooter use in Baltimore.

Just the evening before, my family and I were driving on Greenspring Avenue near Coldspring Avenue when a young man riding a scooter passed us. Not only was he riding without a helmet, but he also had two toddlers on the seat with him - one in front of him, the other sitting behind him. Needless to say, neither child was wearing a helmet.

Having worked in brain injury rehabilitation since 1983 and having two young children myself, I was appalled at this man's lack of concern for his own safety and that of his riders.

In 1999 in Maryland, 42 percent of traumatic brain injuries were the result of motor vehicle-related accidents (including motor vehicle drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists).

If the city's prohibition on scooters is overturned, clear safety guidelines must be put in place and enforced.

Anastasia Edmonston


The writer is a resource specialist for the Brain Injury Association of Maryland.

As a responsible scooterist, I was appalled to read of scooters impounded in Baltimore. And I cannot understand the reasoning behind taking a scooter from a person who is properly attired with a helmet, follows the rules of the road and otherwise maintains the courtesy and safety vital on a smaller, less-visible vehicle.

Frankly, I feel that enforcing this ban on citizens such as me is a waste of time for the city of Baltimore - a place where schoolchildren deserve safer schools, where drug addiction is reaching epidemic proportions, and where city priorities may be dangerously askew.

If the police were to pull me over on my less-than-50-cc scooter, they would only find a school teacher who is going vintage clothing shopping in one of Baltimore's neighborhoods and enjoying an environmentally and economically viable form of transportation.

Banning properly driven scooters is just another form of discrimination.

Christa Gagliano-Walk


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