Question: I am very confused about the new motorized foot scooter laws. Those things seem to be very dangerous. What are the basics that we should know about this new law?
Answer: Because there are new types of scooters that did not fall into existing categories of legislation, our lawmakers had to come up with a new definition and legislation specifically covering those new scooters. As a result, we have a new "Motorized Foot Scooter" definition and legislation.
Basically, it is defined as a device with handlebars and designed to be stood on or sat upon, gas or electric powered, with no more than two 10-inch or smaller wheels, capable of a maximum speed of 15 mph on a flat surface. Operators of one of these units have all the rights and duties of a bicycle operator. They may not operate them on a sidewalk and may not carry any person other than the operator. The operator must be at least 12 years old. Operators under age 18 must wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet.
The unit must be equipped with an approved headlight and taillight if operated at night and shall always be ridden as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway except when passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn (in which case the operator shall stop and dismount at the right-hand curb or edge of roadway and shall complete the turn by crossing the roadway on foot, following same rules as pedestrians) or when necessary due to conditions that make it unsafe to travel near the right-hand edge or curb.
Also, these units may not be operated on a bicycle path, lane or trail that is reserved for non-motorized traffic only. If such path, lane or trail is not reserved for non-motorized traffic then it may be used by these units unless the governing authority prohibits such operation.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion for you and others.
If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, send your questions to: Ask a Trooper, c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, Minnesota State Patrol, P.O. Box 644, Brainerd, MN 56401. Questions are edited.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.