Police, motorists and pedestrians in Indiana are dealing with an increasingly common menace on the streets -- an invasion of scooters with powerful motors often ridden by youngsters with little experience in the rules of the road.
It is against state law for kids younger than 15 to ride motorized scooters or minibikes that go faster than 25 mph, but many people do not know this, and police are unsure how far to go in enforcing the law. Most times, they just call parents.
There were at least three fatalities in scooter and minibike accidents in the state in May and June, including a 14-year-old Bloomington boy who was killed earlier this month while riding a skateboard being pulled by a scooter.
Along with traditional foot scooters with gas or electric motors, people are riding European scooters and small replicas of Japanese power bikes called "pocket bikes."
"The popularity of them has increased tremendously, and most people don't know what the laws are -- that you have to wear a helmet and that you have to be at least 15," state police spokesman Scott Beamon said. "Retailers need to be telling parents what Indiana law is. People see them and they want them and they buy them, but when an officer pulls someone over and finds out they're not 15, they aren't going to get a refund."
-- Kari Lydersen