Macomb, Illinois Bans Electric Scooters

City Council members vote 3-2 to seek an ordinance banning the operation of electric-powered motor scooters on public roadways

Published: 30-Dec-2003

MACOMB - Abandoning a proposed ordinance to allow them on city streets, Macomb City Council members have instead voted 3-2 to seek an ordinance banning the operation of electric-powered motor scooters on public roadways.

Two council members were absent when the issue came before the council in committee of the whole session last Monday.

Such vehicles are not allowed on state highways, and Western Illinois University is opposed to their operation on campus. Diane Diestler, city legal counsel, said she is not aware of any Illinois municipality that allows the scooters, though she said Lincoln and Geneseo are considering ordinances to allow them on their streets.

In calling for an ordinance to ban scooters, Alderman Dennis Moon expressed concern about their possible operation in high traffic situations on Grant Street or on the streets surrounding Macomb High School.

"If we're talking about non-state routes, there are bicycles there as well," countered Alderman Tim Lobdell. "I don't see much difference."

Carl Pershing, the business owner who had originally requested a scooter ordinance, said, "I've heard more pros than cons on this...The scooters can be a safe deal if they're properly regulated...and there's an age limit...Some cities are starting to look at the scooters more seriously."

But another Macomb resident, Michael Wack, said he doesn't believe the scooters would be safe on city streets. "I've actually ridden one," he said.

"It can be a very dangerous vehicle...They go faster than bicycles...and you can't see them all the time...If they run a stop sign and get hit by a car, it's all over."

Wack said an age limit, safety gear, and proof of insurance should be mandatory if the city were to allow the scooters on its streets.

"It seems to me that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages of this plan," said Alderwoman Jane Coplan. "It seems to me it would create another enforcement problem for the police department."

On another traffic issue, Mayor Mick Wisslead urged city council review of existing city ordinances. He said many regulations on the books are not being enforced, and the council needs to decide whether to eliminate them or reinstate the enforcement.

"We might want to bring back parking meters," the mayor said. "They're still in the ordinance. We might want to bring up the wheel tax. It's still in the ordinance." Wisslead said the city council will be asked to consider an ordinance increasing city fees for violation of parking-related ordinances.

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