Scooters becoming more common on borough streets

Some feel that greater regulation is needed for the delivery motor scooters traversing city streets.
Photo by Silvio Pacifico

Delivery scooters are becoming part of the streetscape of the borough, but they may not be legal.

Concerns are growing among community leaders and city officials regarding scooters that are increasingly being used for making restaurant deliveries and for inexpensive travel.

Throggs Neck community activist John Marano said he is alarmed by the many scooter operators he has observed, some of whom he said are violating traffic laws by driving the wrong way on one way streets and blowing through stop signs.

“They are driving erratically,” he said. “They are going the wrong way on one way streets, they are driving on the sidewalks and they are going through red lights.”

The former police officer said that many of the scooters are hard to see at night or in low visibility conditions, like rain and fog, because they lack brake lights.

He said that he nearly had a collision with a scooter operator during a rainstorm because it was barely visible.

Liability issues abound for drivers who get into accidents with scooters and motorized bicycles, because they are not registered or insured and do not have motor vehicle tags, he warned.

“They need to be stopped and summonsed,” he said.

According to State Department of Motor Vehicle motorized scooters, mini-bikes, off-road motorcycles, and motor-assisted bicycles cannot be operated on any street or highway in New York State. The operators may be arrested if they do.

In the past couple of years, the 45th Precinct engaged in an operation in which they confiscated scooters being operated on local streets, said Robert Barbarelli, a member of the East Bronx Traffic Coalition.

Elsewhere in the borough, in the Castle Hill, Parkchester and Soundview communities that comprise Community Board 9, they are also an issue.

In an e-mail, William Rivera, CB 9 district manager, stated that that board had received several complaints about motorized bicycles and scooters.

“We communicate with business owners to maintain safety,” he stated.

“I do think the city (government) should reform and regulate this matter to increase safety,” stated Rivera. “Some of these motorized bikes do not follow traffic laws.”

Restaurants making deliveries, said Kenneth Kearns, Community Board 10 district manager, primarily operate the motorized bicycles and scooters.

He said he has not heard of any recent crackdown on them in the borough, but he has heard of operations to combat them recently in Manhattan.

When asked about scooters, Community Board 12’s district manager George Torres said, “They are sort of a concern.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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