Montgomery County Council Passes Legislation to Establish Registration and Operating Requirements for Electric Scooters, Including the Use of Helmets and Reflectors

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County:
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 20, 2022
From the Offices of Councilmember Sidney Katz and Council President Gabe Albornoz
Bill 36-21, sponsored by Councilmember Katz and Council President Albornoz, will create safer streets for e-scooter riders and pedestrians

ROCKVILLE, Md., Sept. 20, 2022The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously today to pass legislation sponsored by Councilmember Sidney Katz and Council President Gabe Albornoz that establishes registration and operating requirements for low-speed, electric scooter use in Montgomery County, including age requirements, speed limits and requirements for use of helmets and reflectors. Bill 36-21, Motor Vehicles and Traffic – E-Scooters – Operating Requirements and Registration, aims to reduce injuries associated with the usage of e-scooters and improve safety for riders and pedestrians.

“Electric scooters are a growing transportation method; however, there are few laws on the books regarding their operation,” said Councilmember Katz, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “The Council wants to encourage all types of transportation options, but we must do so in a way that is safe for everyone, including electric scooter riders.”

Forbes reports that a recent study by JAMA Surgeryfound that nearly 3,300 individuals were admitted to U.S. hospitals with scooter-related injuries between 2014 and 2018, and there were 39,000 total scooter-related injuries over that same period. The article also noted the “high proportion of people with head injuries” from electric scooter crashes and accidents. One of the goals of this legislation is to help create safer streets and sidewalks across the County.

“E-scooters are an important mode of transportation for many residents across our County. Unfortunately, e-scooters have led to numerous pedestrian-related injuries,” said Council President Albornoz, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee. “Bill 36-21 will create safer streets and sidewalks for both pedestrians and e-scooter drivers.”

The new legislation will permit County residents to register an electric low-speed scooter for personal use. The bill will also require the owner of two or more e-scooters to register and pay a fee for an e-scooter fleet offered for rent in the County. In addition, the bill will establish operating and parking requirements for e-scooter use.

Bill 36-21 requires that individuals operating electric scooters be at least 14 years of age and must not operate an electric scooter faster than 15 miles per hour. The bill also requires people under 18 years old to wear a helmet when riding an e-scooter on a public street, right-of-way or bicycle path in the County.

The new legislation states that e-scooters must be parked in an upright standing position and in a manner that does not obstruct accessibility and disrupt the free flow of pedestrian traffic, or in a way that interferes with places of access for people with disabilities.

Bill 36-21 also prohibits parking an electric scooter in multiple areas, including, but not limited to, sidewalks that are five feet in width or narrower, bicycle lanes, areas reserved for sidewalk dining, driveways and transit zones.

The Council staff report can be viewed here.

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