Amendment to NJSA 39:1-1 Regulates Mini-Motor Scooters

This afternoon, the Acting-Governor signed into law the provisions of S1510 (A1765). The new law amends the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:1-1 and provides, for the first time, regulation of mini-motor scooters. The Assembly Statement and the amended portions of the statute are included in this muni-mail.

Senate Bill No. 1510 (1R) establishes a regulatory scheme for the operation of motorized scooters in the State of New Jersey.

Under the provisions of the bill, it would be unlawful to operate motorized scooters upon highways, streets and sidewalks of this State and, in certain cases, on public property or lands. Violators are subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $200 and seizure of the motorized scooter for the first offense, and a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $500 and seizure of the motorized scooter for the second offense. For both offenses, the seized scooter may only be retrieved from the police by the operator or, if the operator is under 18 years of age, by the operator accompanied by his parent or guardian. In the case of the second offense, however, the court must also approve the return of the scooter. For the third offense, a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $750 is provided for and the seizure and forfeiture of the scooter. The court shall also require for the performance of community service for the second and third offenses for a period not greater than 25 hours and 50 hours respectively.

The bill prohibits the operation of motor scooters upon any public property or lands, except that municipalities may designate, by ordinance, municipal property (other than municipal streets and sidewalks) where motorized scooters may be operated. Counties may also designate, by resolution, county property (other than county streets and sidewalks) where motorized scooters may be operated. In addition to designating the specific areas and times where and when the motorized scooters may be operated, the ordinance or resolution must include at least the following provisions and requirements governing their operation on county or municipal property: (1) each scooter must be registered with the county or municipality and receive a certificate of registration from the county or municipality; (2) the operator must have liability insurance, wear an approved helmet, be at least 12 years of age or older, if so determined by the municipality, and demonstrate a capability to safely operate the scooter; (3) the scooter must be equipped with an effective braking system; and (4) the county or municipality must post a schedule of the penalties imposed for violations of the ordinance or resolution.

There is no prohibition against operating a motorized scooter on private property so long as the owner of that property gives his or her consent.

A motorized scooter is defined as a miniature motor vehicle and includes, but is not limited to, pocket bikes, super pocket bikes, scooters, mini-scooters, sport scooters, mini choppers, mini motorcycles, motorized skateboards, and other vehicles with motors not in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and which have no permanent Federal Safety Certification stickers affixed to the vehicle by the original manufacturer. “Motorized scooter” does not include electric personal assistive mobility devices, motorized bicycles or low-speed vehicles; or motorized wheelchairs, mobility scooters or similar mobility devices used by persons with physical disabilities or persons where ambulatory mobility has been impaired by age or illness.

Motorized scooters that do not meet these definitions are deemed to be motorcycles and, therefore, must meet all the registration, licensing, equipment and other regulatory standards and requirements mandated in the statutes for motorcycles.

The bill also provides that no motorcycle may be operated on the public highways or roadways of this State unless the motorcycle was manufactured in compliance with applicable Federal Motor Safety Standards that were in effect on the day the motorcycle was manufactured and the motorcycle has a certification label, in the format prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, attesting to that compliance, permanently affixed by the original manufacturer.

Motorized wheelchairs are not subject to the bill’s regulatory scheme.

Amended Statute

An Act concerning certain motorized vehicles, amending R.S.39:1-1 and supplementing Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.

Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

1. R.S.39:1-1 is amended to read as follows:

“Motorized bicycle” means a pedal bicycle having a helper motor characterized in that either the maximum piston displacement is less than 50 cc. or said motor is rated at no more than 1.5 brake horsepower or is powered by an electric drive motor and said bicycle is capable of a maximum speed of no more than 25 miles per hour on a flat surface.

“Motorized scooter” means a miniature motor vehicle and includes, but is not limited to, pocket bikes, super pocket bikes, scooters, mini-scooters, sport scooters, mini choppers, mini motorcycles, motorized skateboards and other vehicles with motors not manufactured in compliance with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and which have no permanent Federal Safety Certification stickers affixed to the vehicle by the original manufacturer. This term shall not include: electric personal assistive mobility devices, motorized bicycles or low-speed vehicles; or motorized wheelchairs, mobility scooters or similar mobility assisting devices used by persons with physical disabilities, or persons whose ambulatory mobility has been impaired by age or illness.

“Motorized skateboard” means a skateboard that is propelled otherwise than by muscular power.

“Motorized wheelchair” means any motor-driven wheelchair utilized to increase the independent mobility, in the activities of daily living, of an individual who has limited or no ambulation abilities, and includes mobility scooters manufactured specifically for such purposes and designed primarily for indoor use.

2. a. No person shall operate a motorized scooter upon any public street, highway or sidewalk.

b. Except as otherwise provided in section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill), no person shall operate a motorized scooter upon any public property or lands.

c. No person shall operate a motorized scooter on the property of another without the consent of the owner of that property or the person who has a contractual right to the use of that property.

3. A person violating the provisions of section 2 of this act shall be subject:

a. For the first offense, to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $200, and seizure of the motorized scooter. The seized scooter may only be retrieved from the police by the operator of the scooter or if the operator is under 18 years of age by the operator accompanied by the operator’s parent or guardian.

b. For the second offense, to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $500, and seizure of the motorized scooter. The seized scooter may only be retrieved from the police by the operator of the scooter or if the operator is under 18 years of age by the operator accompanied by the operator’s parent or guardian, provided that the court adjudicating the matter approves the return of the scooter. In addition to the fine and seizure provided for in this subsection, the court shall order the violator to perform community service for a period of not greater than 25 hours.

c. For the third or subsequent offense, to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $750, and seizure and forfeiture of the motorized scooter. In addition to the fine, and seizure and forfeiture provided in this subsection, the court shall order the violator to perform community service for a period of not greater than 50 hours.

4. The governing body of any municipality may, by ordinance, permit the operation of motorized scooters upon designated municipal property, other than the streets, highways and sidewalks under municipal jurisdiction. The governing body of any county may, by resolution, permit the operator of motorized scooters upon designated county property, other than the streets, highways and sidewalks under county jurisdiction.

Such an ordinance or resolution permitting the operation of motorized scooters upon designated municipal or county property shall include, but not be limited to, the following provisions:

a. A designation of the municipal or county property upon which motorized scooters may be operated;

b. The days and hours of the day during which motorized scooters may be operated upon that municipal or countyproperty;

c. A requirement that each motorized scooter operated upon the designated municipal or county property be registered with the municipality or county and receive a certificate of registration from the municipality or county. As a condition for such registration, the owner or operator shall produce or display appropriate proof that a policy of liability insurance is in effect for that motorized scooter. The municipality or county may impose a reasonable fee to cover the costs of registration;

d. A requirement that no person under the age of 12 years or older if so determined by the municipality or county be permitted to operate a motorized scooter upon the designated municipal or county property;

e. A requirement that every operator of a motorized scooter wear a properly fitted and fastened helmet which meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI Z90.4 bicycle helmet), the Snell Memorial Foundation’s 1990 Standard for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard or such other standard, as appropriate;

f. A requirement that each motorized scooter operated upon the designated municipal or county property be equipped with a brake that will enable the operator to stop the scooter 1[or skateboard]1 in a safe and effective manner;

g. A requirement that prior to operating a motorized scooter upon the designated municipal or county property, the prospective operator demonstrate, in a manner prescribed by a designated local authority, a capability to safely operate the scooter; and

h. A schedule setting forth the penalties for violating the provisions of the ordinance. The schedule shall be prominently posted upon the designated municipal or county property, along with a warning that operators may also be subject to applicable provisions and penalties set forth in chapter 4 of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes.

5. No motorcycle shall be operated on the public highways or roadways of this State unless the motorcycle was manufactured in compliance with applicable Federal Motor Safety Standards that were in effect on the day the motorcycle was manufactured and the motorcycle has a certification label, in the format prescribed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, attesting to that compliance, permanently affixed by the original manufacturer.1

6. This act shall take effect immediately.

Category: Muni-Mail Archive