Police offer 60-day grace period for new scooter insurance law

Scooter accidents

According to Fayetteville police, there were 116 wrecks involving scooters over the past three years: 29 in 2012; 44 in 2013; and 43 in 2014.

Of those accidents, 91 included scooter drivers who were uninsured: 21 in 2012; 35 in 2013; and 35 in 2014.

Also, 51 of those accidents were determined to have been caused by scooter drivers: 15 in 2012; 16 in 2013; and 20 in 2014.

Note: Numbers don’t include accidents on the UA campus.

Fayetteville police will wait a little longer before issuing tickets to anyone who violates the city’s new scooter insurance law.

City Council members last month passed an ordinance requiring liability coverage for anyone who drives a motorized bicycle, motor scooter, or moped (under 50cc) within the city limits. Vehicle registration is not required.

The law went into effect this month, but Police Chief Greg Tabor ordered a 60-day grace period for violators of the new ordinance.

Tabor said he wanted to give scooter drivers who don’t know about the law more time to get insured before writing any citations. The grace period ends July 11.

Alderman Alan Long proposed the ordinance last December in an effort to protect drivers from a growing number of uninsured motorists.

Long said when a scooter driver causes an accident which damages other cars or trucks, the drivers who weren’t at fault must file a claim against their own uninsured motorist coverage in order have their vehicle repaired.

Police reports show a 28 percent increase in accidents involving scooters over the past three years in Fayetteville, and a 5 percent drop in liability coverage for scooter drivers involved in accidents.

“The concern for us is the number of accidents we’re starting to see and the injuries associated with those accidents,” said Mike Reynolds, Fayetteville deputy police chief. “Insurance would provide a remedy for individuals that incur injury or property damage to seek relief.”

Calls to local insurance companies indicate a basic liability coverage policy for a motor scooter can cost between $50 and $100 per year, depending on an individual’s driving record and whether they opt for personal injury coverage.

Scooter driver who are involved in an accident or who are stopped by police will be required to show proof of liability insurance. As with most Fayetteville ordinances, anyone who violates the law could face a fine of up to $500.