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Donora police cracking down on motorized scooters

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By Jeff Pikulsky
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2003

DONORA -- Donora police will now cite anyone riding a motorized scooter in public without a driver's license, registration and proper inspection clearance.

At its regular meeting this month, Donora Borough Council discussed an increase this summer in children riding the self-propelled vehicles -- which resemble skateboards with handlebars -- on borough streets and sidewalks.

Mayor John Lignelli said he contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and learned the scooters fall under the same restrictions as all other motor vehicles.

Matthew X. Haeckler, counsel- in-charge of PennDOT's motor vehicle section, mailed Lignelli a letter he had sent to state police officers.

The letter stated that motor scooter riders must have a valid driver's license and their scooters must be inspected and registered.

Haeckler wrote that there were 1,330 emergency room visits in 1999 from accidents related to motor scooters. In 2000, the number almost tripled to 4,390 and it came down to 2,870 in 2001.

Lignelli said the scooter craze hit Donora this summer and luckily no accidents have been reported.

The mayor said insurance liability is a concern in the event of an accident, but the children's safety worries him, the police and council the most.

"We have nothing against these kids having fun, but there is such a safety factor," Lignelli said. "A lot of motorists are worried one of those kids are going to get hurt. There are 10- or 11-year-olds (riding). They've been riding them at night on the streets.

"We want the public to know that we're going to start citing these kids."

Borough councilwoman Marie Trozzo, who is chairwoman of public safety, said enforcing the motor vehicle code with scooters would help save lives.

"I've been accused of not liking children and not being able to remember my childhood," she said. "But, I really feel we're responsible for the safety of the children.

"I don't want to see any 9-year-old getting buried."

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