With holiday gift buying in full swing, some parents and young adults may be considering buying a mini-motorcycle, also known as pocket bikes, for a gift or personal use, but the V.I. Police Department issued a reminder Friday that it is illegal to operate them on public streets.
According to the statement issued by Police Commissioner Henry White Jr., mini-motorcycles can only be operated on private roads and on private property. Anyone taking one out on public streets risks having the machine confiscated, and faces a fine.
The law restricting the vehicles was created to protect the rider, the statement said.
The bikes can reach speeds of as fast as 35 mph and do not meet the standard safety requirements for on-road use. They are unstable and hard to steer because of the small wheels. The bikes are about a foot and a half off the ground and riders have to sit with their knees positioned higher than the handlebars, which make them very difficult to control. Also, the bikes do not have turn signals, a horn, front lights or brake lights and operators are not required to have a license or wear a helmet.
Because the bikes are so low to the ground it is sometimes difficult for a car or truck to see it and collisions can occur.
Officers are urging the public not to purchase these mini motorcycles unless one intends to ride the bikes exclusively on private property and not on the public roads.