Scooter accidents up in OC as 'scoot coupes' become more popular
Scoot coupes for rent in Ocean City. (Photo by Brian Shane, Special to The Baltimore Sun / July 29, 2011)
If you're at all like me, when you see one you smile and think "how cute and fun!" And your very next thought after that is "too dangerous for me, though."
Scoot coupes are those tiny two-person vehicles that resemble mini-cars, have three wheels and somehow seem a bit, well, flimsy for any road, let alone one as busy as Coastal Highway.
But the scoot coupes are legal in Ocean City (Delaware, too) and have been since last summer. And as of this season the "motorized passenger scooters" are also legal on most state roads. They are allowed in the bus and bike lanes and it's kinda up to the user if he or she wants to hit the highway.
This spring, the Ocean City Town Council decided against putting any regulations on the use of the scoot coupes, for example, restricting the rentals to a certain time of day.
At a recent meeting of OC officials, however, the Ocean City Police Department reported that the number of scooter accidents has jumped nearly 50 percent this season - up from 57 to 83. While the police did not point specifically to scoot coupes as a cause, the department's chief did say there have been many complaints about them.
According to The Coastal Dispatch, police chief Bernadette DiPino said many of the scoot coupes may be in violation of a law that restricts the size of the engine motor to 50cc. But most of the coupes being rented are 150cc or more.
The council approved a police request to purchase a device to measure the size of the engine motor to determine if they are in violation of the law.