Mesa will take a closer look at motorized play vehicles that have already been banned by Phoenix and Tucson. The Mesa Police Department is preparing a report on scooters and pocket bikes for an upcoming City Council discussion.
No hearing date has been set.
"I’m not saying we’re going to do anything, but it’s a good time to study the issue," said Mesa Councilman Rex Griswold, who asked for the discussion in the wake of resident complaints and last month’s decision by the Phoenix City Council.
Council members reached by the Tribune supported having the discussion, but all withheld judgment on whether to ban the motorized play vehicles.
Mesa resident Jared Langkilde has asked the council for an absolute ban, citing the constant noise and safety concerns.
"I’ve seen a lot of near accidents," Langkilde said. "They are too unsafe on neighborhood streets."
Barbara Hastings, general manager of Engine Trix in Gilbert, is concerned about cities following the lead of Phoenix and Tucson. Hastings, who works for a scooter distributor and retailer, said teens and adults should continue to be allowed to ride scooters on the roads.
"I think we’re getting a bad rap," Hastings said.
Mesa police Lt. Ben Kulina said the department’s report will include traffic laws, enforcement practices, the number and types of complaints and the number of crashes that have caused serious injury or death.
In 2004, Mesa had two fatal crashes involving motorized scooters and three serious incidents, Kulina said. He said the police department has rece ived a handful of complaints.
Mesa’s current scooter regulations went into effect in September 1999. Today, the vehicles are banned from sidewalks, parking structures and parks, except on a public road within a park. They are allowed on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less. The vehicles can be ridden only during the daylight and never before 7 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
Riders must be at least 14 years old, and any rider younger than 18 must wear a helmet. All minors must carry a signed written consent from a parent or guardian.
Other cities have had recent discussions or will soon hear testimony on the issue.
In Chandler, two residents are scheduled to address the City Council on the topic during Thursday’s meeting.
On Dec. 15, the Phoenix City Council banned the use of all motorized scooters, skateboards and play vehicles from city streets, sidewalks, parks and alleys.
The Gilbert Town Council in June approved tougher regulations for motorized scooters, but chose not to ban them. Tucson banned the scooters earlier last year.