Motorized toys outlawed on city streets | NevadaAppeal.com

Motorized toys outlawed on city streets

by F.T. Norton

MIKE CULLEN/For the Appeal Carson City Sheriff's Deputy Wayne Wheeler talks with an unnamed boy on Berkenfield Drive about the department's new policy to cite children riding pocket bikes, motorized scooters and go-karts on city streets and sidewalks.

The newest craze for youngsters could become a big pain in the wallet for their parents this month when Carson City deputies begin writing tickets to children riding pocket bikes and other motorized toys without a license.

“These bikes have become day-to-day transportation for unlicensed children with no driving experience,” said Chief Deputy Steve Schuette. “They are not wearing any safety gear, speeding excessively and riding recklessly out there in traffic.”

Beginning today and lasting until Sept. 10, anyone spotted riding a pocket bike, motorized scooter or go-cart on a city street or sidewalk will be warned by police to keep it off public property.

Beginning Sept. 11, citations will be written to juveniles and their parents for traffic violations such as driving without a license or driving without a rearview mirror.

Schuette said gas- and electric-powered bikes, scooters and go-carts meet the legal definition in Nevada for a motor vehicle. As such, the vehicle operator must have a valid driver’s license, the vehicle must have a working horn, turn indicators, a rearview mirror and tail lamps. Because the vehicles generally have a gas engine 49cc or smaller, they are not required to be registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

A pocket bike, a 3-by-2-foot motorized mini motorcycle, can hold a person who weighs up to 200 pounds and can reach speeds up to 45 mph.

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“The ages of the kids riding these are 9- and 10-year-olds trying to negotiate them on heavily used roads with no experience and no supervision,” Schuette said. “These kids are driving around town not obeying any traffic laws and posing a hazard to motorists. The bikes are difficult to see from a vehicle.”

Although pocket bikes have been blamed in deaths across the country, there have been no serious accidents involving the minibikes and automobiles in Carson City. But, Schuette said, it’s just a matter of time.

“It wasn’t such a problem when a few people had them and brought them out on the weekends. But they’re everywhere now, causing complaints,” he said. “Enough is enough. We’re just going to have to crack down.”

FAST FACTS

Citation costs:

Driving without a license: $187

No tail lamps: $67

No horn: $67

No rear view mirror: $67

No turn signals: $67

NRS 484.081 “Motor vehicle” defined. “Motor vehicle” means every vehicle which is self-propelled but not operated upon rails.

NRS 484.083 “Motorcycle” defined.

“Motorcycle” means every motor vehicle equipped with a seat or saddle for the use of the driver and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, including a power cycle but excluding a tractor or a moped.

Contact F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.