In that same issue was a full-page ad for Pep Boys, half of which was devoted to the sale of these electrically or gas-powered mini-scooters, mini-motorcycles and four-wheel all-terrain vehicles. They range in price from $99 to $799, with the inference that elsewhere the prices go higher than $2,500.They neglected to advise prospective buyers that each and every one of those items is illegal to be ridden on public property. They cannot be licensed.Although the mini-bikes are supposed to be for riders 12 years and older and claim speeds of 25 miles per hour, I have been told that some models go up to 35 miles per hour. In very small print, a noted advised: "Speeds and distance vary by weight of rider and terrain." Besides that, many riders are well under 12.All of the above should scream "warning" to riders, parents, drivers and anyone else who has experienced seeing the pain of someone who has knocked down (or killed) someone while driving or who has himself spilled onto the pavement or the pain of a parent whose son or daughter may have been injured or killed.It would have been better for everyone if this craze had never started. I hope our legislators will outlaw the sale and ownership of these vehicles.The illegality of these items was no secret to the public and this column warned about it when the fad began. It has been the repeated topic of complaint at every manner of community meeting, both because caring members of the public don't want anyone hurt and because they are a public nuisance. They are at least as noisy as the now-outlawed car alarms and they are a danger to everyone near them as well as to property.The name of the young man who prompted this column was Donte Pomar. At 19, he was said to have had a troubled life, having been on parole and having a suspended license, according to news reports. He added fateful trouble when around 3 a.m. helmetless Pomar drove his mini-motorcycle around the streets of Kew Gardens Hills in an effort to avoid the police, authorities told the TimesLedger.Some people run from the police when they know they are doing something illegal. Once there has been a fatal crash, grieving families sometimes want to have their deceased family member and themselves exonerated regarding that death. In this case, through their tears - as many people decide to do - they went to City Councilman Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn), who sympathized with the family's concerns surrounding Pomar's death.The councilman was quoted in the News story as referring to the police as being "at least reckless" and using "poor judgment." Barron might better have told the grieving family that the police are mandated by law to correct things illegal for the protection of all concerned. Let us hope that Barron and other council members will see their way clear to having Pomar's death become the spark that sets in force legislation to prohibit the sale of these dangerous mini-motorcycles. If that is possible, in some way, this troubled young man could be remembered for contributing at least that one positive for society, instead of a memorial of beer bottles, flowers and candles.It might also help to remember that many police officers have sons and daughters of their own and try to protect the lives of at-risk people of all ages and suffer trauma when they fail. As tragic as any death may be, in this case we should be grateful that Pomar's crash did not also kill or injure someone else. Some riders don't go it alone.
©2004 Community News Group
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