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Glendening to sign motor scooter bill

May 15, 2001

Glendening to sign motor scooter bill



By LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

More Marylanders may ride motor scooters because of a bill Gov. Parris Glendening is signing today.

The law, sponsored by two Washington County lawmakers at the request of a Hagerstown business, will put motor scooters in the same class as mopeds. They're now classified with motorcycles.

Motor scooters are very similar to mopeds except they don't have pedals, said Jeff Davis, general manager of Twigg Cycles Inc. in Hagerstown. Both vehicles reach top speeds of about 30 mph and are used to zip around urban areas or college campuses.

But many states still lump them in with motorcycles, requiring owners to carry extra motorcycle insurance, and get a motorcycle driver's license and plates.

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Leading manufacturers like Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki have designed a number of new motor scooters, but Twigg doesn't keep them in stock because buyers are turned off by the costly demands of the law, Davis said.

Scooters are popular in Europe because of the high cost of gas there, he said. Scooters can go about 110 miles on one gallon of gas.

Davis said he doesn't expect a big demand for the vehicles in rural areas like Washington County.

"It's actually a bigger victory for the metropolitan areas than it is for us," Davis said.

But business owner Michael Twigg felt strongly enough about the law change to contact Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, and Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington.

The two local lawmakers sponsored a bill that passed the Maryland General Assembly in April.

Glendening will sign the bill today at the State House in Annapolis, along with more than 200 others including controversial gay rights legislation that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations.

Glendening will sign two other bills of local interest. They are:

- A bill to allow firefighters to turn on their emergency lights while backing into their stations.

The House and Senate passed identical versions of the bill, but chose to sign the one sponsored by Shank instead of the one sponsored by Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington.

"The governor is signing Delegate Shank's version of the bill because he voted for the budget and is supportive of the governor's efforts," said his spokeswoman Michelle Byrnie.

- A bill to increase the pay for Washington County Board of Elections members and judges. The Election Board president will make $5,000 a year, members will make $4,500 a year, chief election judges will make $125 per day and election judges will make $100 per day.

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