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St. Louis’ Scooter Ordinance Behind the Times

February 19, 2005 25th Ward 2 Comments

St. Louis’ ordinance on the scooters kids are riding around is seriously outdated. Signed into law in January 2001 the ordinance addressed a very specific type of scooter on the market at that time.

We’ve seen a whole new breed of mini scooters come onto the market since then. We must keep up with changes in the market and technology or we find our legislation is out of touch with current times.

From the ordinance:

For purposes of this ordinance a “motorized scooter” shall mean any two-wheeled device that has handlebars, is designed to be stood upon by the operator, and is powered by a motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion at a speed of not more than 25 miles per hour.

The key phase in the definition is “designed to be stood upon by the operator.” The picture below is the type of scooter that meets the definition of the ordinance.


But in the four years since this ordinance was passed scooters have changed. First, makers have added seats to this skateboard type of scooter. With the seat added they no longer meet the definition listed above:


Mini motorcycles or “pocket bikes” as they are known on the street have become the new trend. These pose even more danger as the operator sits on the small bikes and is even less visible than someone standing on the type above.



These also seem to have more power than earlier models. Maintaining control, due to the seated position, is even harder. This is a case where someone smaller and younger is actually better suited to the device. But, it is the older juveniles and young adults that we see riding these pocket bikes.

We need to address these new dangers on our streets. Also, we need to make sure City Hall stays in touch with current technology and changing markets.

Click here to read the full ordinance.

– Steve


Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. Missy VanWinkle says:

    I couldn’t agree with this article more! This new breed of “scooter” (aka: a small motorcycle) has outstripped legislative initiatives. It seems to me to be one of the most egregious examples of the necessity to stay on top of new mechanics and technology.

    These bikes have been seen on streets, sidewalks, passing lanes, and alleys going at speeds rendering them unable to stop quickly, and too low to be seen by those of us in cars or trucks.

    Additionally, I would like to hear about a noise level rule as well as licensing (I’ve not noticed plates on these little guys and think they should be regulated in much the same way other vehicles are.)

    Perhaps this can be addressed at the coming debate?

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