Scooter Death Brings Questions About Safety

Scooter Death Brings Questions About Safety

JACKSONVILLE - A man's death in a scooter-related accident brings questions from some about whether those vehicles are under regulated.

A Jacksonville man, Dean Thomas Jordan, 43, was killed Memorial Day weekend after he was ejected from his scooter. Sgt. R.E. Dudley of the NC Highway Patrol said Jordan's scooter was rear ended by a car on Highway 17 near Dawson Cabin Road.

Some of Jordan's friends and neighbors questioned whether scooters are under-regulated in North Carolina, saying too many drink and ride.

Neighbor Charles White said, "that's the vehicle that you drive if you don't have a driver's license."

Pursuant to North Carolina law, it is legal to operate a scooter without a driver's license, so long as the driver doesn't exceed a speed of 30 miles per hour.

"That can present a hazard in some situations, and I think the problem is exasperated at night," said Sgt. Dudley.

Dudley recommends scooter drivers wear reflective gear to increase visibility.

Jacksonville resident Sherrie Everhart is against changes to the law. Everhart, who didn't have a driver's license for approximately five years, said she relied on her scooter.

"I didn't go just scooter-pooting around. I went to work, to the grocery store, and I rode it to the beach to see my father while he was dying," said Everhart.

Now Everhart has a license, but she says she's thinking about driving a scooter again.

"I drove to work for a week on just one dollar worth of gas," said Everhart.

Electronic scooter rider Terry Hudson, of Jacksonville, agrees, saying it only costs a few cents to charge his scooter.

Hudson believes there should be greater regulation of scooters, saying, "they need to be strict on all of us, especially drunk drivers. People are out here on scooters drunk all the time," he said.

Tom Crosby, the VP of Communications at AAA Carolina said the company has been actively working to increase the regulation of scooters.

"It's basically a loop-hole vehicle that endangers everyone on the road," said Crosby.

Crosby said scooter riders should be required to have a license. Additionally, he says they should not be able to ride on highways where the speed is double the scooter's legal limit.

According to the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, there were 671 total reported scooter crashes on state-maintained roads in 2010 in North Carolina.

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