Miniature vehicles to be banned from public roads in Carroll

August 15, 2004|By Athima Chansanchai, Mary Gail Hare and Sheridan Lyons | Athima Chansanchai, Mary Gail Hare and Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

By the end of September, the only place in Carroll County where the buzzing of miniature motorized scooters and motorcycles should be heard are on private driveways and property.

Concerned for the safety of the riders and motorists who can't see the small vehicles, Carroll police chiefs, representatives of the sheriff's office and the state's attorney's office met recently to agree on a standard of enforcement for the trendy transportation.

Under the county's interpretation of the state law, mini-motorized scooters and skateboards and mini-motorcycles in Carroll will be prohibited from operating on public roads, authorities said.

"My main concern is for the safety of the people that operate these devices, which are not intended to be operated on the roadways," said Westminster police Chief Jeff Spaulding. "There's been confusion as to applicability of the law. It took us some time to figure it out. That's the reason for putting a grace period in place until the end of September."

Spaulding told Westminster's mayor and council members Monday night that the Police Department would offer the grace period before issuing citations. He said he wants to educate residents first. Violations will carry a maximum fine of $500.

"We've giving everyone one free bite of the apple," he said.

Mopeds and regular-sized motor scooters are allowed on public roads as long as drivers possess valid licenses. But the law did not address the miniature versions, even as their increased presence demanded a uniform standard of enforcement.

"I tried to come up with what I thought the law was," said David P. Daggett, deputy state's attorney for Carroll County. "My interpretations are based strictly on the traffic code."

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