Minister Calls for Enforcement Against Illegal Scooters Following Fatal Accident

The transportation minister appointed an interministerial committee to enforce laws banning the sale of certain kinds of motor scooters, after a man died in a motor scooter accident on Wednesday.

The committee will be led by Moshe Yemini, head of manufacturing and importing at the Transportation Ministry, and will include representatives of the customs authority, the National Road Safety Authority, the Industry and Trade Ministry and Public Security Ministry. The committee will submit its conclusions to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz by December 1.

The law permits the import of motor scooters weighing up to 12 kilograms, with an engine no stronger than 100 watts and with a maximum speed of 12 kilometers per hour.

However, many sellers flout the law; most motor scooters sold in Israel are larger, stronger, faster than legally allowed.

Some sellers bypass the law by importing parts and assembling the scooters in Israel.

The law is also unclear regarding whether riders need to wear a helmet, and whether they may ride on the sidewalk, since the scooters are defined as toys, not motor vehicles.

The committee is supposed to suggest ways to enforce existing laws, and to propose amendments to improve enforcement on the streets, including confiscating scooters and fining riders. The committee has also been asked to draft a public information campaign on the risks of illegal motor scooters.

Eyal Kolovich of Tel Aviv was killed yesterday after he hit the mirror of a parked car while riding a motor scooter, fell off and hit his head. Police say a helmet would have saved his life.

Meanwhile, Kadima MK Zeev Bielski has initiated a bill that would set the minimum age for riding a motor scooter at 14, and set a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour.

The bill also proposes restricting riders to bicycle paths or roads with marked shoulders, and to forbid changing lanes in order to make left turns, which would be allowed only on foot, at crosswalks.

The bill also calls for outfitting motor scooters and their riders with light reflectors.

By law, motor scooter riders must wear helmets, but there is little enforcement. Bielski's bill would set a NIS 1,500 fine for not wearing a helmet.