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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, November 22, 2002

Bill to restrict motorized scooters advances

By Treena Shapiro
Advertiser Staff Writer

Safety and nuisance concerns could lead to a ban on motorized upright scooters on public sidewalks and streets under a bill approved Wednesday by the City Council Transportation Committee.

Police Maj. Bryan Wauke said although state and city law do not allow the use of motorized scooters on public roadways and sidewalks, police have been unable to cite the users because there are no laws regulating the use of this type of vehicle.

"We feel that this bill gives us the authority to issue citations and respond to complaints from the community," he said.

Wauke said a national report indicates that injuries from motorized scooters are on the rise and in Hawai'i one or two collisions have resulted in serious injury.

The bill will go before the full council for public hearing at the Dec. 4 meeting.

Councilman Steve Holmes expressed concerns that the bill would ban the use of electric scooters, such as the Segway human transporter, and other electrically assisted vehicles that are "legitimate transportation modes."

Leilani Akana Ramsey, of Moanalua Valley, urged the committee to approve the bill. She said she nearly hit children on motorized scooters on three occasions and they snickered at her when she tried to scold them about it.

"We have to do something about this because I don't want to have to come back and say I told you so," she testified.

In other matters, the committee approved a bill that would allow the Department of Transportation Services to issue free bus passes to city employees.

The department's director,Cheryl Soon, said 185 city employees pay for their bus passes through payroll deduction, which accounts for $60,000 in revenue each year. If an additional 20 percent of the 8,718 city employees opted to receive the passes, it would cost the city an additional $627,000, she said. "Just under $700,000 in revenues would be lost."

The bill will be heard before the full council on Dec. 4.