Fines are the next step after the Key Biscayne Police Department launched an awareness campaign on Wednesday around scooter safety for island kids. The effort comes following direction from the Village Council to take a harder line in enforcing scooter laws.
Two classes at the Community Center summer camp have reached 100 children so far, and the program will expand to programs and schools. In the sessions, police officers deliver presentations on scooter safety along with literature for parents about potential fines. Police also are planning parent workshops.
The key pivot is emphasis on enforcement. Officers will be moving away from written warnings in favor of formal citations. Riding without a helmet carries a fine of $77.50, and transporting multiple riders carries a fine of $177.50.
Underage riders can also suffer a penalty when the time comes for them to apply for a learner’s permit. Citations can lead to a situation where a young person is barred from getting any license until they turn 18, said Police Chief Frank Sousa.
“I just think it’s a matter of education and working and getting the word out. The parents need to be part of the process. We’re working towards a solution; and if we have to write tickets, we’re going to write tickets,” Sousa said after a Village Council meeting.
Council members said safety campaigns and fines would be the last measure before they consider an island-wide ban.
“The next step is that these things will have to be banned,” said council member Allison McCormick. “These aren’t just pleasant suggestions, this is ‘you need to do this or you won’t have the ability to ride it anymore.’”
Other council members echoed her sentiment.
“We have churned out all kinds of communication. There is absolutely no excuse that you should not know that this is a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Council Member Luis Lauredo. “This is just the last time before the hard line.”
Theo Miller is an intern reporter specializing in education, technology, politics, and the impacts those have on schools both on and off the Key. He is a graduate of MAST Academy. In Key Biscayne, he works in production with Crossbridge Church and the Anti-Social radio podcast, Often described as a full-time nerd, when he is not writing or in school, he loves cameras, cars, cooking, and cartoons.