Editor's note: This is the first in a series of reports about the use of scooters in the area -- what qualifies as a moped, the proper use of a moped and the laws and regulations concerning moped use on the roadway.
With gas prices skyrocketing at the pump, many people are looking for the cheapest and most economical means of transportation they can find.
Some people are turning to two-wheeled motorized vehicles, or "scooters," as their means of transportation because they get 50 miles per gallon or more.
But, as more and more of these vehicles take to the streets, the issue of motor "scooters" is a growing concern being voiced by motorists and law enforcement personnel around the country.
"We get a lot of complaints from people wanting to know about whether a moped driver needs to have an operators license, insurance coverage or proper plates on the vehicle," Brazil City Police Chief Mark Loudermilk said. "They are concerned about what happens when they get into an accident with one of these vehicles."
Locally, the Brazil City Police Department has received numerous complaints from the public concerning the laws and regulations for motorized "scooters" and the confusion surrounding what exact type of "scooter" is considered legal on area roadways.
Tomorrow: Is that two-wheeler a moped, a scooter or a motorcycle?
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, U.S. scooter sales have exploded, rising 460 percent between 1998 and 2003.
The trade group reports that nearly 84,000 people bought scooters last year, a 16.7 percent increase from the year before.
What is a Scooter?
Almost any two-wheeled, motorized vehicle is a motorcycle, and motor-scooters, or scooters, are a specific type of motorcycle design.
The reason that scooters are not considered equal to a motorcycle is simply because they are designed to be generally slower and not as performance-oriented. Scooters usually take most people about 5-10 minutes to learn the basic handling skills required to operate the vehicle, making it a "twist and go" leisure vehicle.