Mobility Scooter as a Motor Vehicle

Ever seen a mobility scooter on a low-speed chase? Oregon police have. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Bodycam footage of a 2019 police incident shows a disabled woman on a mobility scooter who was stopped by Oregon police for failing to wear her helmet. The officers told her she couldn’t drive the scooter home without a helmet, at which point she took off, leading the police on a VERY low speed chase with their lights and sirens on. She was arrested, charged, and found guilty of evading police. The appeals court just overturned that decision, calling out the police for pursuing her for a $25 traffic violation, and the prosecutor for pursuing the matter.

But here’s the thing: motor vehicle laws define a motor vehicle broadly enough to include mobility scooters. That’s why people have been arrested for drunk driving one. And if it’s driven recklessly, the operator can face a lawsuit. So, if you have to drive one, drive it as if you don’t want to get a fine or a felony.

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