Tighter Indiana scooter rules signed into law

(WISH Photo, file)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Come January, scooter riders will have some new guidelines to follow. Some riders 24-Hour News 8 spoke with say it’s a step in the right direction, but there are still a few kinks to work out.

The new law creates a few more hoops 50cc owners will need to jump through, but it still doesn’t keep unlicensed drivers off the roads.

“It’s really surprising. All of our neighbors – Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky – have to be licensed. You have to have a plate,” said Mike Tockey, Speed City Cycle & Scooter owner.

Until now, driving a 50cc moped has basically been unregulated. On January 1, that will change.

Among new regulations is required tags.

Jeffrey Carpenter was at Speed City shopping for a scooter for his soon-to-be 15-year-old son. He says regulations are for a reason and believes it can help make streets safer.

“They just want to know just in case of an accident or something, that whatever they’re riding is registered,” said Carpenter.

Ask any member of the scooter community and you’ll hear story after story of theft.

“I’ve had customers lose their scooter in the first day, in the first hour, at gunpoint,” said Tockey.

“Even though you lock them up, people still come by with bolt cutters or anything and they still will steal them,” said Carpenter.

The state hopes registrations can at least help recover stolen mopeds. But it doesn’t keep habitual traffic offenders from taking them for a spin.

“Traffic offenders are still flying below the radar,’ said Tockey.

The new bill will not take away 50cc mopeds away from unlicensed drivers. They will just need to take a sign test, have a state ID, get the plates and stay under the raised speed limit of 35 miles per hour. It’s a privilege still less regulated than most US states, but it’s something.

“I think that the state is doing this to quantify the number of 49cc bikes that are on the road,” said Tockey.

Tockey estimates there are about 50,000 50cc’s on Indiana roads right now. Riders 24-Hour News 8 spoke with aren’t completely satisfied with the law, but say it is a step in the right direction.

Scooters with engines bigger than 50cc’s already have to have plates, and drivers have to have a license.

Many of the mopeds, whether they’re 50cc or 200cc, look the same. Depending on how the BMV decides to plate them, it could be difficult for law enforcement to differentiate licensed from unlicensed drivers.

The BMV says it has until January to work out those details.

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