Scooter Towed Unlawfully?

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Topic: Scooter Towed Unlawfully?

Travel and Transportation October 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Scooter Towed Unlawfully?

Hello PopVille,

I own a 49cc scooter and made sure when I purchased it that it fit all the qualifications of a “moped” so that I wouldn’t need to get a motorcycle license and could park it outside my house. I verified with a DC police officer that it was a moped and they said yes, as it was under 50cc’s, 16″+ wheels, and max speed is 30mph.

I live in Petworth and can’t fit the scooter through my tight alley to my backyard so I had it parked across from my house on the sidewalk. It was a wide area of the sidewalk, chained to a light post (which I also verified with patrolling cops that this was legal.) I had it chained with the heaviest chain I could buy at Ace Hardware plus a U-lock on each wheel. Scooters seem to disappear quite frequently from my neighborhood.

I came home from work last Friday to discover it gone. Find out that it has been towed by DPW. The ticket is that it was technically a motorcycle so it was unlawful for it to be parked on a sidewalk. They towed it Friday afternoon, so that is $100, plus $20 for each day is it stored- INCLUDING Saturday and Sunday when they are closed. They broke the chain ($50) and each of the U locks ($75 each). Plus my new helmet ($125) was in the under seat bin. The ticket is $100. Was told that I can’t pick up the scooter without paying the fines first. So the scooter is there racking up the fines while I have to take off work to fight the ticket in traffic court with no guarantee of getting reimbursed for anything.

I was wondering if any of you have experience with this sort of situation? I feel like this is some kind of scam. I am out $650 as of today for this unlawful tow. The scooter only cost me $350! Do I leave my scooter at the impound lot and chalk this up to a very expensive mistake or fight it?

3 Replies Add Reply

Two questions, where are motorcycles supposed to be parked, if not on the street, and where are there alleys so narrow that you cant fit a scooter through it? Is that technically even an alley?

I would definately fight this. If you just leave the scooter, you will still be responsible for the fees which will eventually be sent to collections. DPW is notorious for ticketing scams, but luckily there is an appeal process.

The scooter can fit through the alley, but it’s too narrow to turn it into my backyard’s gate.

Let’s say I win the ticket but I don’t get reimbursed anything for the towing fees or all my broken locks. Any advice about what I can do to fight that? It’s not chump change…


Call DPW.

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