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Articles: Are your children riding Gopeds on the streets?

Contributed by admin on Jun 24, 2004 - 04:53 PM

Village Warden news


ARE YOUR CHILDREN RIDING GOPEDS ON THE STREETS?

A word of warning.

1. GoPed is a trade name for a particular form of machine imported from USA and consists of a platform o­n which the rider stands, a rear wheel driven by a small (22cc) petrol engine and a front wheel which is steered by means of handlebars attached to a vertical column - in other words it is a motorised version of a typical child’s scooter.

2. There are several machines available which are similar in concept and which may be powered by forms of internal combustion engine or electric motors.

3. The same arguments apply regardless of the method of propulsion.

4. Since the first appearance of these machines in the UK some ten years ago, we have consistently held the view that, when used o­n the road, they are motorcycles.  It is likely that because of the small engine capacity and/or low speed capability, they would be classed as a moped.

5. Section 185 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 define a motorcycle as being a mechanically propelled vehicle having less that four wheels and weighing less than 410kg unladen.

6. Being powered by an internal combustion engine or an electric motor, we feel that there is not any argument that they are “mechanically propelledâ€? for the purposes of the Regulations given in 5 above.

7. The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 requires that vehicle excise duty shall be charged o­n any mechanically propelled vehicle used or kept o­n the road and the Road Traffic Act 1988 lays down the basis for certain offences such as causing death by dangerous driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and so o­n.  It also lays down the basis for needing an appropriate driving licence and wearing of a helmet in the case of a motorcycle.

8. The Road Traffic Act 1988 also requires all motor vehicles used o­n the road to comply with the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989.  As far as we are aware, in the particular case of the GoPed, it does not comply with these Regulations, principally in the areas of braking and tyres.  Certainly o­ne model of the machine is o­nly fitted with o­ne brake instead of a brake o­n each wheel and has resilient (solid) tyres, not pneumatic.

9. Although the system is changing due to the introduction of European Whole Vehicle Type Approval for powered two and three wheeled vehicles, for the time being it is the responsibility of the applicant for registration to ensure that the machine complies with the relevant legislation.

10. Examples of GoPeds which we have seen have a disclaimer stating that the produce does not conform to UK Vehicle Safety Standards and is not intended for operation o­n public streets, roads and pathways.

11. Under the Highway Act 1835 and the Road Traffic Act 1988 it is an offence to drive or ride a carriage of any description (including a bicycle) or a motor vehicle o­n a footpath.

12. The above form our view of the various regulations, but we must make it clear that it is o­nly the Courts which may make a definitive interpretation of the law.


Ian Norman

Village Warden