Montgomery County Councilmember Sidney Katz and Vice President Gabe Albornoz Introduce Legislation to Establish Registration and Operating Requirements for Low-Speed Electric Scooters

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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 19, 2021 —Today, Montgomery County Councilmember Sidney Katz and Vice President Gabe Albornoz introduced Bill 36-21, Motor Vehicles and Traffic – E-Scooters – Operating Requirements and Registration. The bill’s goal is to establish registration and operating requirements for low-speed, electric scooter use in Montgomery County while reducing injuries associated with the usage of e-scooters by setting age requirements for use, limiting speeds and requiring helmets and reflectors.

“Electric scooters are a growing transportation method; however, there are few laws on the books regarding their operation,” said Councilmember Katz, who is chair of 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 Surgery found that from 2014-2018 nearly 3,300 individuals were admitted to U.S. hospitals with scooter-related injuries, 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 Bill 36-21 goals is to help create safer streets and sidewalks across the County.

“E-scooters provide an important alternate mode of transportation for many residents across our County. However, e-scooters have unfortunately contributed to pedestrian-related injuries,” said Council Vice President Albornoz, who is also a lead sponsor of the bill and chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. “I am proud to cosponsor Bill 36-21 which will establish safety parameters, not only for pedestrians, but for e-scooter drivers as well. It is our hope that this legislation will create safer streets and sidewalks for all residents living in Montgomery County.”

The new legislation would permit County residents to register an electric low-speed scooter for personal use. The bill would 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 would establish operating and parking requirements for e-scooter use in the County.

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 public hearing for the bill is scheduled on Nov. 9 at 1:30 p.m.

View the Council staff report.

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