Councilmembers passed a new bill to regulate e-scooters in Montgomery County.
Councilmember Sidney Katz, lead sponsor of the bill, said, “At times the e-scooters were being used in the county with very little regulation.”
The bill requires people be at least 14 years old to operate an e-scooter and must not go faster than 15 miles per hour. Those under 18 years old must wear a helmet when riding on a public street, right-of-way or bicycle path.
Council President Gabe Albornoz, who co-sponsored the legislation, said he thinks the bill is “a reasonable approach to establish some reasonable ground rules.”
E-scooters must be parked standing upright and parking is prohibited in multiple areas like sidewalks that are five feet wide or narrower and bicycle lanes.
The bill will permit people to register an e-scooter for personal use and would require e-scooter companies with two or more scooters for rent to pay a fee.
In a Racial Equity and Social Justice statement from Nov. 2021, the county’s Office of Legislative Oversight anticipated the bill “could widen racial and social inequities in the County by widening inequities in transit options and law enforcement and potentially widening inequities in traffic injuries.”
According to council documents, a council committee agreed after a July 25 worksession that there are “sufficient provisions that provide sufficient options to reduce inequities and increase usage for communities of color, low-income, and senior residents.”
Legislation goes into effect 91 days after enactment. County Executive Marc Elrich has supported the bill in previous testimony on his behalf.