Release 09-91
October 7, 2009

    Karen Caesar
(626) 575-6728
ARB investigation leads to $33,000 judgment against Bay Area dealer of "pocket bikes"
Vehicles were uncertified, illegal to sell in CA

SACRAMENTO - An investigation by the Air Resources Board has led to a $33,000 judgment issued in June by the Alameda Superior Court against Alameda-based Scooter Importers for selling uncertified off-road vehicles and "pocket bikes."

Despite their resemblance to legally certified motorcycles, these pocket bikes, which are small enough to be picked up and stored in the trunk or back seat of an average car, did not meet State safety or emissions standards for on-road vehicles and cannot be sold in California. All the uncertified vehicles were manufactured in China.

"Breaking clean air laws costs violators money," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "But more than that, it costs millions of Californians their health. These pocket bikes may be cute but they can produce 100 times the emissions of a clean new car."

Scooter Importers was issued three Notices of Violation for selling the uncertified vehicles. A settlement was not reached, so the case was referred to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for prosecution. A judgment was ultimately entered in Superior Court in the amount of $33,000 for Health and Safety Code violations. The Air Resources Board will receive $7,000, while the Alameda County District Attorney's Office will receive $8,000 and the Alameda County Treasurer $18,000.

In addition, Scooter Importers was permanently enjoined from acquiring, offering for sale, or selling uncertified motor vehicles for use, registration, or resale in California.

Vehicles that do not meet California's tough emission requirements pose real danger to residents. They create higher amounts of smog-forming pollutants, which can then exacerbate respiratory ailments and negatively affect other health conditions.

The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.