Police: Scooters must be registered or owners will face fine
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 23:09
University of Connecticut motorized scooter owners need to register any scooters on campus with the university, or risk being fined, according to police officials.
The UConn Police Department is initiating a stricter enforcement of scooter usage on campus as a result of a new scooter policy enacted by UConn last year, according to UConn Chief of Police Barbara O’Connor and Deputy Chief Hans Rhynhart.
Half of the battle is getting students to properly park the scooters, according to O’Connor. There are designated areas across the campus for scooter parking, and most are not as conveniently located as the campus’ bike racks.
In addition, scooter passengers are required to wear eyewear and stay off the sidewalks, according to O’Connor. She also said that having two or more passengers ride on a one-passenger scooter is not permitted.
“Our end goal is always the safety of our communities and our population,” O’Connor said. “We recognize we’re policing people who are out on their own for the first time, exercising some independence. Our officers exercise a tremendous amount of patience and latitude.”
The UConn Police Department has been “engaged in an educational campaign” over the course of the first month of classes, informing scooter passengers of the rules they have to follow. However, Rhynhart made it clear there will be a transition in the near future from an educational campaign to an enforcement policy.
“At some point, illegally parked scooters will be subject to tickets,” Rhynhart said.
Last fall, UConn adopted a new policy requiring all students to register their motorized scooters with Parking Services. Part of the registration process requires students to complete an online test.
In a press release from the university in August 2012, William Wendt, director of transportation, logistics and parking, said students with motorized scooters should expect to walk a reasonable distance to get to class, just like any other student with a motor vehicle.
“We’re treating motor bike, moped and scooter parking like a regular motor vehicle,” Wendt said in the press release. “You wouldn’t expect a car to drive on the sidewalk. You won’t be able to park near the front door of your destination in all cases. People may have to walk a block or so under the new system, but that’s normal for a motorized vehicle on this campus.”
Additionally, the police are trying to crack down on scooter thefts and attempted scooter thefts on campus.
A student witnessed an attempted scooter theft on campus earlier this semester, which caught the police’s attention, according to O’Connor. Since then, two arrests have been made in relation to scooter thefts, O’Connor said.
O’Connor also said this is the not the first time the police have addressed scooter issues, adding that arrests were made following scooter thefts and attempted scooter thefts on campus last fall.
“We’re back with a whole new crop of students, a whole new group of scooters,” O’Connor said. “This is not the first time we’ve had this problem.”