Law sides with scooter riders

<b>CORRECTION:</b> This Road Warrior column contains incorrect information on the state law governing motor scooters. Under Nevada law, a motor scooter with a 50cc engine or larger must be licensed, registered and insured.

This week readers want know whether motor scooters legally may travel on roadways, what happens if you enter a school zone but can't leave it and whether there are plans to make the intersection of Patrick Lane and Grand Canyon Drive a four-way stop. Also a reader shares a personalized license plate that references a Saturday morning cartoon.

Linda asks: Is it legal for a motor scooter to drive in the travel lanes? It seems to cause problems when a person on the scooter is going 15 or 20 mph below the speed limit.

Judging by your question, you are probably going to be disappointed with the answer.

It's legal all right, but that doesn't mean there aren't rules that have to be followed.

Tom Jacobs of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles explained that many people buy motorized scooters not realizing there are a number of laws that have to be followed.

For instance, if the scooter has a 49cc engine or larger, or can travel faster than 30 mph, the driver must be licensed and the scooter must be registered and insured. The scooter must also have safety equipment such as lights and a horn and the driver and passengers must wear helmets. And there are other important rules, such as the scooters can't be driven on sidewalks.

The scooters are essentially seen by state law as motorcycles and must follow the same rules of the road, Jacobs said.

The biggest mistake is parents let kids drive them, Jacobs said.

There is a gray area for scooters that don't meet that description, Jacobs said.

A gray area in state law doesn't address them.

Jacobs expects the state Legislature to take up this issue in the upcoming session.

Frank asks: What's the rule if there is a school zone speed limit sign and then there is no sign indicating an end to the school zone. That's the situation near Hualapai Way and Quail Avenue.

If there's one sign, there should be the other. At least that's what Bobby Shelton, spokesman for the Clark County public works department, told me.

Shelton explained that because there is no "school zone ends" sign, it would indicate to him that one was missing.

Whether it was taken down by pesky vandals, knocked down or never put up -- the area is still developing -- is not clear.

In the meantime, Shelton said he'd forward the problem onto the folks at traffic management who will investigate the situation.

Shelton said it's possible that the original "school zone" sign should never have been put up. If kids don't cross the street to get to the school there may be no need for the sign, he said.

That is a very possible scenario because the school in question, Bishop Gorman High School, has students who mostly commute to the school.

Alan Stock, talk show host for KXNT-AM 840, whose show I was recently on, wants to know about putting a stop sign at the intersection of Patrick Lane and Grand Canyon Drive. There are stops signs at Grand Canyon but not at Patrick and that seems to cause a lot of accidents.

It doesn't look as if the county has any intention of granting your wish, Alan.

Shelton told me the intersection has been studied and there was no indication a change was needed.

"During the study, the traffic volumes only met three hours of the necessary eight hours needed for a multi-way stop design. Basically, this amounts to peak hours travel when motorists are going to and from work. During the other 21 hours of the day, the current configuration more than meets the necessary traffic volumes of this intersection," Shelton said.

He added that of the crashes studied at the intersection during the past year, only one "might" have been avoided had a multi-way stop been set up.

Shelton said the county will continue to watch the intersection as the area develops more.

Hit 'n' Run

A loyal reader reports seeing this personalized license plate on a blue Ford Escape headed north on U.S. Highway 95 at the Spaghetti Bowl: SCBY SNC. We at the Hit 'n' Run desk believe this to be a reference to Scooby snacks from the cartoon, "Scooby Doo."

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Francis McCabe at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to Please include your phone number.