Scooters Ordered Off Streets

Must be 18 or older to operate motorized scooters in Dickinson, Texas

Published: 15-Jan-2004

People under 18 can no longer legally ride motorized scooters on Dickinson’s streets and businesses will have to place their trees on their property 30 feet apart, as of last night’s city council meeting.

Citizens spoke their minds before the city council about both issues last night.

A citizen expressed concern during the meeting that the new law limiting the use of scooters for people under 18 and requiring minors riding motorized scooters to wear helmets might effect motorcyclists. The citizen also said scooters are similar to bikes and travel at similar speeds. He suggested council keep the helmet portion of the law, but limit riding the scooters to two-lane roadways only.

Another citizen spoke in favor of the new law. “I’ve seen scooters top out at 30 miles per hour,” he said. He complained about children using the scooter dangerously in his neighborhood, and said police told him they have responded to “close calls” involving scooters.

Dickinson Police Chief Ron Morales said the police department has “received numerous calls” about the new scooter law. Morales said many citizens who have called the station “are concerned that we are not strict enough.”

“Some home owner’s associations want to ban them altogether,” Morales said.

According to Morales some scooters can travel as fast as 35 mph.

Morales and city council agreed that the ordinance would not effect those riding motorcycles or bikes.

The way the ordinance reads, anyone under 18 years of age must wear a protective helmet while riding a motorized scooter and is prohibited from riding scooters on any roadway, “except for paths and trails set aside for the exclusive operation of bicycles or on a sidewalk.”

Council member Mark Townsend said, the helmet requirement is “good” but “ I don’t see a problem with kids riding them on the street.”

“Kids got to have something to do,” Townsend said.

Council member Linda Murrie said she has “mixed emotions about the ordinance.”

Murrie then went on to say the scooters looked fun, but seemed dangerous.

“I think they are an accident waiting to happen,” Murrie said.

All council members, except Townsend, voted in favor of the ordinance. This was the second and final reading due to a motion to waive the third reading.

Members of Dickinson Beautiful, a local group dedicated to preserving and improving the beauty of the city, asked city council to require commercial dumpsters to be enclosed with a gate and to required re-planted trees to be 20 feet apart rather than the 30 feet.

A member of Dickinson Beautiful who spoke before the council said unkept dumpsters are “one of the major sources of litter in our community.”

Julie Masters of Dickinson beautiful showed slides of properties landscaped with trees and some without.

Masters praised the properties with trees close together with many bushes. “I hope this is what we envision for Dickinson,” she said. “We may not get to see the trees... and the shrubbery we’ve planted today to grow to full maturity,” Masters said.

Council member Mike Reinschmidt said, the ordinance already requires commercial property dumpsters to have three-sided screens. “I don’t have a problem with requiring gates,” he said.

Council member Linda Murrie said of the gates, “it looks better... but we can’t require people to do something we can not enforce.”

Council members Kay Neal, Linda Murrie and Mark Townsend voted in favor of the ordinance while Kerry Neves, Louis Decker, and Mike Reinschmidt voted against the ordinance.

Mayor Veta Winick broke the tie by voting “no,” in order to facilitate more discussion.

Reinschmidt, made a motion to amend the ordinance by changing the wording of dumpster clause to read “shall” have a gate instead of “may” have a gate.

All members, except Townsend opposed the amendment.

Neves made a motion to change the tree space requirement from 30 feet to 20 feet, but it died for lack of a second.

Decker made a motion to change the tree space requirement from 30 to 25 feet. “At some point we need to come to an agreement,” Decker said. Neves seconded the motion, and only Neves and Decker voted in favor of the amendment.

Council voted again on the ordinance with the dumpster gate as the only change. All members but Neves voted “yes.”

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