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LYNN — An updated ordinance regulating motor scooters, motorized bikes, and other motorized conveyances, will take effect within the next 10 days, after the City Council voted to approve police recommended amendments.
The ordinance, passed Tuesday, applies to various types of motorized conveyances such as motorized bicycles, mopeds, motorized scooters, mini-motorcycles, pocket bikes, motorized skateboards, power boards and off-road recreation vehicles. The amendments are aimed at addressing and preventing dangerous and reckless driving behavior in which some drivers are engaging around the city.
“This is a public safety issue in our community as well as a quality of life issue,” Lynn Police Chief Christopher Reddy said, speaking in support of the ordinance. “It is having an adverse impact on many neighborhoods, and creating dangerous driving conditions.
Two members of the public joined Reddy to testify in favor of the ordinance, describing individuals riding motorized vehicles on sidewalks, racing up and down a street and scaring other drivers on the road.
Lynn police will now be able to fine violators who engage in hazardous operation of these motorized vehicles $250 for the first offense and $300 for subsequent offenses. It will also be able to seize motorized conveyances from violators until they pay all fines and even seek permission in the court to dispose of or destroy such equipment, depending on the severity or frequency of violations.
“The message needs to get out that this is not acceptable driving behavior,” said Reddy. “I believe this ordinance provides the financial penalties that will serve as a deterrent to that type of behavior.”
Per the ordinance, hazardous operation of motorized conveyances includes riding in any public place with front, rear, or side wheels raised from the surface of the road or ground; riding with feet or knees planted on the seat of the vehicle; or riding with a passenger sitting in front of the operator or upon the handlebars of the vehicle.
To rein in the problem, police plan to document and investigate any incidents of reckless driving of motorized conveyance and file a notice of immediate threat for license suspension at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, according to Reddy.
The ordinance virtually prohibits the use of motorized skateboards and power boards in the city of Lynn by forbidding them on public ways, private ways, streets, parks, playgrounds, or on the grounds of any public school.
The ordinance also refers to such violations as unlicensed operation of some of the vehicles that require a driving license or a permit to operate; operation of unregistered vehicles when a state registration is required; carrying a passenger when the vehicle is intended for one person only; not wearing a helmet; or operating a motorized scooter, mini-motorbike or pocket bike after sunset or before sunrise.
The public can help police fight unruly operators of mopeds and dirt bikes by reporting violations via phone, texting a tip, or sending information through social media accounts that can be found on the LPD website.
“If you don’t want to give us your name, we are still going to take your information and respond appropriately,” said Reddy.
“I keep putting it in my newsletters month after month to remind folks to not engage with them, but to find out where they garage and report them anonymously,” said Ward 2 Councilor Richard Starbard.
The LPD will also investigate any complaints about witness intimidation, in case violators engage with the members of the public in any way to scare them off, said Reddy.
“It could be witness intimidation or maybe lesser charges. But certainly, we would want to be made aware of that when we respond and take appropriate action,” Reddy said.
Alena Kuzub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.