Forest Hills residents are concerned about a silent threat zipping around the neighborhood: electric scooters.
Steve Goldberg of Community Board 6 said that many restaurants in the area hire people who use the two-wheelers to deliver food, but do not follow the rules of the road in the process.
“The drivers are driving on the sidewalk, they’re making illegal lefts and rights at intersections and they’re driving against traffic,” he said.
But the part that concerns him most is that the mopeds run quietly and can sneak up on unaware pedestrians.
“These things are totally silent,” he said. “If you hit somebody with it, it’s going to hurt.”
Goldberg said the other problem is that the operators of the scooters are not licensed or registered in any way, so if a pedestrian is hit, there is no legal recourse or path toward compensation.
“You just buy this elective vehicle and you’re in business,” he said.
He contended that the vehicles should be regulated just like motorcycles and gas-powered mopeds, that operators pass a road test and that they obtain license — but there is one problem.
According to police from the 112th Precinct, the state of New York does not register electric vehicles such as mopeds or scooters, so officers had to go and speak with the restaurateurs.
“We addressed it by visiting the eateries and discussed with them what’s going,” said one officer. “As far as I’m concerned it has been addressed.” A spokesman from the state Department of Motor Vehicles, also said that electric vehicles cannot be registered by the state. It would render it an “unregisterable motor vehicle. But he added that operating an unregisterable motor vehicle on city streets is against the law. The operator could be charged with driving without insurance or driving an unregistered motor vehicle.
It is always illegal to ride on the sidewalk.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2010 Community News Group
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