Money Wise--"Pocket Rocket" Mini Bikes - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/15/04

Money Wise--"Pocket Rocket" Mini Bikes

If you haven't seen them, chances are you've at least heard about them. A "pocket rocket" is like a mini motorcycle. They're so tiny, they seem like they'd be the perfect present for a kid. But that gift could be deadly.

They look fun and if you ask anyone who's ever been on one, they'd say they are fun. "This thing will go about 30 miles an hour," said Phillip Hoang, a manager at Scooter World in Savannah.

He sells pocket rockets, but discourages parents from buying them for their kids. "We have to steer them from it. Offer them something else in the store."

Safety is his biggest concern. You can easily see a regular-sized bike behind just about any car, but even behind a tiny sports car, the pocket rocket is barely visible to the driver.

So imagine if a child were to pull a truck on a pocket rocket. "I would imagine they would get run over, because you can't see, because of the size of them," said David "Junkyard" Jackson.

He has been riding motorcycles nearly all his life, and he's the district coordinator for ABATE, American Bikers Active Toward Education. "Pocket rockets are not for kids nor adults," he said. "They are very unsafe. They are very unstable. And for the amount of speed that they produce, they are a hazard for anyone that wants to climb on them."

Pocket rockets are meant to be on a race track, which is why the tires have no tread. But when they're sold in areas like Savannah, where there is no race track the street is the only place to go. "If you're on a pocket rocket, I don't care who you are, you ain't got control of it," said Junkyard. "I would like to see the legislators or the Senate ban these things."

Phillip Hoang says he's not sure if banning them is the right answer, they just need to be in the right hands.

Not only are pocket rockets illegal in the streets, but since they're motorized, they're not allowed on city sidewalks. And that's yet another reason why they're not considered safe, because those people who ride them in the city really don't have anywhere to go.

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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