By Adam Swift
City Councillors want some clarity on the regulations regarding the operation of electric scooters and small motorized bikes in the city.
“As I was campaigning this past year, one of the biggest complaints I got was about the small scooters and motorized bikes,” said Ward 4 Councillor Paul Argenzio, who filed the motion asking for more information. “I know the scooters don’t have to be registered, but at what point do these bikes that everyone is zooming around on (need to be registered?”
Argenzio said he would like more information from the city regarding regulations involving not just the registration, but other things such as who needs to wear helmets, speed limits, and where the motorized vehicles can be operated.
“I know one person who stepped out of a business on Broadway and a scooter came by and took them out,” said Argenzio. “I don’t know if they are allowed to operate on sidewalks, if they can operate in bike lanes; sometimes you see them driving down the center yellow line. So if we could get some clarification on the legality of where they can operate, I would appreciate it.”
Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri praised the motion made by Argenzio, and noted that when it came to electric scooters at least, many cities across the country have private businesses regulating the operation.
“I think we would have to figure a way to get those laws to stick to regular residents,” said Silvestri. “But I do agree … it needs to happen. There is a lot of danger not only with pedestrians, but also the scooter riders themselves.”
Councillor-at-Large Robert Haas, III said he also heard many concerns from residents about the small motorized vehicles.
“Just last night, I saw a man flying down Malden Street without a helmet on one of the E-bikes,” said Haas. “It’s clear that the city does need some guidelines.”
In addition to more concrete guidelines regulating the vehicles, Haas said there should be an awareness campaign in the city to let residents know about the vehicles and the potential risks.
“This has been a problem we’ve had for a while,” said Council President Anthony Cogliandro. “There’s a business on Broadway, if they open their overhead door and you look inside, there are 100 of these things sitting there.”
Cogliandro said the city needs to look at more defined regulations for the vehicles to make enforcement easier for the police.