Mo-peds have UMPD writing and students paying

Anna Ewart

Mo-ped riders have been keeping University police busy since classes started.

Several students were ticketed on and around campus last week for mo-ped related offenses.

University graduate student Girard Griggs was ticketed Sept. 12 for operating his mo-ped on a sidewalk. Griggs said he also watched the officer issue other tickets outside Willey Hall.

“He would process one person and have another person waiting in the queue,” he said. “He had the capacity to process two people at once.”

Griggs also alleged gender discrimination by the officer. He said he saw the same officer ticket several men on mo-peds, but let two women go with a warning.

The two women were driving the mo-ped in a pedestrian area and had too many people on the vehicle, Griggs said.

“It should be equal based on gender. He had a nice, neat stack of about 20 tickets that he showed me,” Griggs said. “He said that there was only one female in that stack of tickets.”

Griggs said he filed a formal complaint with the University police.

University Police Lt. Troy Buhta said he spoke with the officers involved in the ticketing outside Willey Hall.

He said the officers already had other mo-ped users waiting when he stopped the two girls.

“The first ticket that officer gave was to a female,” he said. “The problem is you can only hold people so long when you’re tagging them. You can’t ticket everyone.”

Ed Arschke, a sales manager at Scooterville, a scooter business near the University, said he sees an even ratio of men and women purchasing mo-peds.

“We’ve definitely sold more mo-peds since classes started,” he said.

Mo-peds, or motorized bicycles, are vehicles that have a motor capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or less and can go no more than 30 mph on a flat surface.

Mo-peds may be parked at bike racks and walked in pedestrian areas according to the Minnesota driver’s manual for motorcycles, motorized bicycles and electric-assisted bicycles.

Minnesota statutes regulating mo-peds require the use of eye protection, ban carrying passengers on single person vehicles and don’t allow mo-peds on sidewalks or in bike lanes. Drivers must have a valid driver’s license or a mo-ped operating permit.

University Police Chief Greg Hestness said there are reasons why University Police have been issuing so many tickets on campus.

“They’re a motor vehicle and they really don’t mix well in high pedestrian traffic; it’s kind of risky. People treat them like a bicycle and they’re not,” he said. “We’ve had some injuries.”

Nedward Tavale, a communications and sociology junior, said he has received several mo-ped-related tickets in the past.

About a week and a half ago he said he received a ticket for parking his mo-ped in a nondesignated parking spot. He also said he has friends who have been ticketed recently for mo-ped violations.

University junior Ben Kuznia said he has never received a mo-ped ticket but said he has received a few warnings.

“I don’t really drive in the West Bank common areas anymore, or where there are people walking,” he said. “You’ve got to be considerate.”