Scooters have been popping up everywhere in Boston and city officials have decided to start a pilot program that could launch next spring embracing this new mode of transportation.
The Boston City Council held a hearing Monday morning about the number of apps that have been growing in the city that offer scooter rentals. City Councilor Matt O’Malley called for the hearing, saying since the city’s traffic is so horrendous, Boston should be opened to the idea of scooters as a way for residents to get around quicker and easier.
“It will remove the congestion from our streets,” O’Malley said. “We should embrace this.”
However, not everyone had a positive outlook on the new mode of transportation.
Olivia Richard, a disability rights activist, said she didn’t want the scooters in her neighborhood. “It’s another piece of technology we are getting left behind on,” she said.
Richard says scooters are abandoned on sidewalks haphazardly, creating obstructions for people who are disabled. “No one is a fan of this,” she said. Richard also worries about the safety of riders, saying she often sees them riding without helmets.
Helmets are not the only safety concern the city has to worry about. Another big hurdle for Boston officials is a state law that put scooters under a type of transportation that requires turn signals and brake lights. Companies like Lyft and Bird testified that many scooters lack these safety features.
Boston Chief of Streets, Chris Osgood, said he hopes to work with communities like Cambridge and Somerville to make a joint program.
In a North End / Waterfront poll earlier this summer, the neighborhood was split on whether electric scooters should be allowed in Boston. Just under half of people who voted said definitely not, but at least a quarter said they’d be open to the idea with the proper rules and regulations.
The Council said they would look into creating a pilot program.