Mayor has plan to make electric scooters street legal in Boston

Mayor Walsh has filed a proposed ordinance that would let scooter companies begin lining city sidewalks with their for-hire two wheelers - as long as register with the city and promise to get their users not to block sidewalk ramps, crosswalks, fire hydrants and building entrances.

Rental scooters briefly made an appearance in Cambridge and Somerville last July, when one aggressive purveyor decided to emulate Uber and just start dumping the things all over the place without first getting permission. The cities then impounded many of the scooters.

Walsh's proposal, which must be approved by the City Council, would let the Boston transportation commissioner set maximum numbers for scooters allowed in Boston, both in general and per company - although the city would start with pilot programs before opening the throttle on scooters everywhere. The commissioner could also set requirements for distribution - for example, to ensure residents in farther flung neighborhoods get a chance to use the things.

The commissioner would be advised by a new Small Vehicle Sharing Business Advisory Committee composed of somebody from the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, the city Disabilities Commission and the city Environment Department.

The City Council could discuss the proposal at its regular meeting on Wednesday, although it will likely then assign the measure to a committee for study and for at least one public hearing before voting on it. The meeting begins at noon in the council's fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.



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PDF icon Proposed scooter ordinance194.43 KB


More bike/walkable cities should be the goal, not lardcycles

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As long as these scooters use the other motor vehicle lanes and not sidewalks, bike lanes and definitely not multi-use paths like the emerald necklace or river paths. These motorized scooters go up to 15 mph, way too fast to be allowed to be allowed on sidewalks and bike lanes. I know Walsh is a proud "car guy" but the small steps Boston has taken to improve bike safety the past few years under him will be wiped away if motor scooters are allowed to use bike lanes/paths.
When Uber/lyft came we were told by Con Alley and all the politicians that took money from them that it would lead to more transit use. That was a lie and we have seen the opposite be true. Now with motor scooters and self driving cars we are hearing the same talk about miraculous decreases in congestion. Please. Its more motor vehicles using fossil fuels (most of our electric grid is still fossil fuel based).

I know people like Walsh and Baker think walking//biking is for commies, but making cities more bike and walkable should be the goal, not more lardcycles.


These motorized scooters go

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These motorized scooters go up to 15 mph, way too fast to be allowed to be allowed on sidewalks and bike lanes

Erm, that sounds like perfect speeds for the bike lane to me. 15 mph is approximately most cyclists' cruising speed on city streets, and kids, Hubway riders, etc. usually only go 5-10 mph. If these scooters can only go 15 mph max, they sound much more suited for sidewalks and bike lanes than for general purpose travel lanes.

You realize this is referring to glorified razor scooters with a tiny motor in them, rather than ones you sit on that are closer to motorcycles, right?



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also require energy. They are human-powered, but humans burn fuel, and the various processes involved in growing, transporting, and preparing that fuel all consume additional energy, and release CO2 into the atmosphere.

I don't know what the relative energy and CO2-emission costs of electric scooters and bicycles are, and they may be far from comparable. If that's so, comparing them would be like comparing electric scooters to cars.

Unfortunately unlike the human body

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most cars or scooters don't have a large excess of fuel sitting around their midsection that they can use. I really doubt most commuter cyclists in Boston are actually riding enough that they've needed to increase their food intake.

Bike lanes yes, sidewalks no

A scooter going 15 mph fits just fine into the bike lane. It doesn't belong on the sidewalk any more than a bike would that is gong this fast.

Honestly you sound like a hater

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Just because it's not an active way to transport you trash it. However this is a great and cost effective way for many people to get around throughout the world. I will be using one of these and hope to pass you on your bike or tricycle or penny-farthing or whatever it is you ride. Hopefully I can sense your scorn when I pass you.

Does anyone remember

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The BS that was slung around when planning the convention center? The convention center does not need parking.
Nobody will drive here. People will take the bus or walk from the trains at South Station.
Most conventioneers will arrive by taxi.
You want to attend the Boat Show? You need to park 2 miles away in Marine Industrial Park. You don’t want to drive? Uber and Lyft will mess up traffic on Summer Street.

Is scooters blocking fire

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Is scooters blocking fire hydrants a real problem, practically speaking? It would take a firefighter a fraction of a second to shove a scooter aside to hook a hydrant. In the context of a 6-minute response time, that's within the noise.

We all want fire safety, but given the value of every square foot of space on Boston's crowded sidewalks and streets, it's helpful to balance safety versus day-to-day convenience.


Balance? People want to jam

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Balance? People want to jam new technology into old infrastructure, waiting on special drone landing zones or something like that. We dont need no stinkin safety, all speed ahead to the brave new world !

Firefighters won’t need to

Firefighters won’t need to remove the scooters since Boston’s fine citizens who take offense to the scooters will hurl them into a million broken pieces.

Has our mayor been hitting

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Has our mayor been hitting the bottle? What on earth would possibly make him agree to this?!?

So now our already backed-up streets will be slowed down by scooters weaving in between cars (and without insurance). To top it off, the scooters can park themselves on our already-tight sidewalks *for free*??

If this plan goes into effect, it will add to traffic (more than uber & lyft), create dangerous situations for pedestrians (as scooters will end up being driven on roads, bike lanes & sidewalks) and take up valuable sidewalk space...all for what???


If they are weaving between

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If they are weaving between cars, they are going faster than traffic, not creating it. You have to remember that scooter riders don't just appear, they may have been someone who used to be getting into that double-parked Uber actually creating traffic.

Won’t those get vandalized

Won’t those get vandalized and thrown into the harbor just like those lime bikes? You want to be a green city and eliminate all cars but yet can’t stand new innovations like the lime bikes. Can’t wait to see the complaints roll in about people zooming by in scooters.


The more people using bike

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The more people using bike lanes the better. Just keep the electric scooters off of sidewalks.

LOL at the people fretting

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LOL at the people fretting about scooters being dangerous on our streets who see no issue with the flagrant and far more dangerous violations by vehicle drivers every minute of every day in Boston.

Thanks Mayor

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I've already got one person who thinks it's okay to drive and park their full on motor scooter [like a Vespa] on the sidewalk on my block. People should be shamed for using these electric scooters, not encouraged by a veneer of legitimacy. We managed to mostly stem the tide of dumb Segways. Why cave now on these?

And there really is no reason, if you want to avoid car use and the MBTA isn't cutting it for you, to not just get your lazy ass down to Community or Landry's or the like and buy a nice bicycle. Rental "vehicles", whether they are these stupid scooters or the 7,000kg rogue and city bicycles, are just so bad. There are even decent options now for getting a nice, single speed bicycle for as cheap as $300 or less if used - which granted has some substandard parts that will need to be replaced in near future like the headset and bottom bracket. For just a few hundred more you can get a bicycle that will last you 40 years or more. And that's still less than you would spend on rentals in just one or two months.

Here on this planet...

You do not own your entire city block. Why does a scooter being parked on “your” block borther you so much? Are you ok?

Here on this planet, common usage is that "my block" means "the block on which I live," not "the block I own". See also, "my neighbor," "my boss," "my father" etc.

As for your question, I would imagine that "because consuming public shared infrastructure by using it to store private property in contravention of the rules we democratically created to govern our use of said shared infrastructure, is a dickhead move." would be an approximate answer.


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Electric scooters would be a nightmare. They would be dumped everywhere blocking sidewalks. Just look around during the spring summer with the motor scooters and motorcycles now parked all over the sidewalks. Read up on problems other cities have had with these. Just say nope. Not that the Mayor cares at all.

Motorcycle parking

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Instead of having a rental fleet, how about just putting in a lot more motorcycle parking? There seems to be this stupid idea in Boston City Hall that Motorcycles are Teh Eville, when they make a hell of a lot of sense in an urban environment. Take out some car spaces already and get 'er done! People will bring their own scooters and electric gizmos.

Scooters are tiny compared to motorcycles

or even to bicycles. You can probably park four scooters in the space needed by one bicycle. They are about as space-efficient a mode of transportation as I can imagine, other than just walking or roller-skating.

Note that we are talking about stand-up scooters, just like a Razor kick-scooter except electrified.


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This sounds like a total nightmare. Where will these scooters go in severe weather events like snowstorms? Who is going to regulate scooter scooting so people don't scoot like fools? How will people get helmets to scoot safely?

There's got to be a happy medium

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Why don't we ask all the bostonians scooting around Atlanta all week how they enjoyed it once they get home?

While yes, I agree that Boston streets are harder to navigate and are already over-congested with agitated locals and confused tourists behind the wheel, we can't simply turn our nose up at any idea that aligns us with other major cities. I travel for work and I cannot say enough good things about these scooters. They enable me to see parts of the cities I otherwise never would because they'd be too far of a walk or too close of an unnecessary Lyft. Atlanta, Kansas City, Austin, Washington DC, they all manage to cope with sharing the road and sidewalks with these scooters. They provide business to local shops and restaurants that may not be in the major squares and neighborhoods. They allow people to get to places in a less cumbersome way (roll your eyes all you want, but put simply, if its a long walk or involves a ride-share, I just get something closer to me instead and miss out on whats just beyond).

Yes, we have tourists that would put themselves in potentially dangerous situations, and yes we have young students that may abuse the priviledge, but guess what? We will ALWAYS have tourists and students. We cant keep sacrificing the opportunities of those who live here.

"Set maximum numbers for scooters allowed in Boston"

I gotta wonder what the feedback would be if say, automobiles were proposed in this day and age and held to these kinds of standards.

The lack of self-awareness of people on this thread complaining about safety, public space and high speeds is almost palpable.


Could you imagine

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what our world might be like if we allowed people to just leave their privately owned vehicles all over public property? Why, they might block important infrastructure or even endanger people who have to unexpectedly move around them. Luckily as long as we can ban small motorized scooters, we'll never have that problem.


Excellent Read

The main point isn't the success of the scooters but the double standard applied to anything not a single occupant motor vehicle.


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Settle down, grandma.

I've been to cities that have these scooters already. Nobody walked into any of them.