Scooters and pedestrians

Every other day or so, I hear from a new person who is deeply concerned about people on powered scooters endangering themselves and others.

Powered scooters come in many forms now. However, many of the scooters in the city now are small motorcycles that require registration and a driver’s license. Many (but by no means all) of these heavy scooters are operated by people delivering for online delivery app companies. Most that I observe do not have license plates. These unregistered vehicles are illegal.

Both the City of Boston and the State Police are stepping up enforcement. A recent Globe story and a press release from the state police report a recent state police seizure of a number of unlawful vehicles The comments on the Globe story are worth scanning.

Additionally, the City of Boston — through a letter from the Police Commissioner and the Chief of Streets — has started a conversation with delivery companies, alerting them of the rampant violations and warning of increased enforcement up to and including vehicle seizure. The City has also demanded information from the companies on how they are overseeing their drivers. This is clearly a problem that the City recognizes and plans to keep working on.

Many delivery drivers have limited income and little ability to recover from the loss of their vehicle; many are immigrants. The traffic regulation issues connect to other issues about how the delivery workforce is compensated. These equity issues do create dilemmas for local law enforcement: Mayor Eric Adams in New York City is preparing an aggressive summer confiscation campaign, while Mayor Muriel Bowser in Washington DC appears not to have announced enforcement plans.

At the state legislative level, we are studying how existing laws apply to the range of vehicles that we observe on the streets. At this stage, it appears that state and local police do have the necessary tools to address the emerging problem, but we are looking for additional ways to be helpful.

Please do share thoughts, observation, concerns, and perspectives on this emerging issue.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

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127 Comments

  1. Sir. Thanks for your concern and bringing this up.
    Also a delivery person here – and have not seen reckless or endangering delivery workers on scooters…
    BUT if you aren’t aware, Oak Square Brighton has a lot of very loud scooters past 10 PM on our streets. More of a noise complaint than anything but they do seem to go quite fast and annoy quiet neighbors like myself in the hood. Unsure what other neighborhoods in Boston are dealing with same issue.

  2. It would seem logical to require all delivery vehicles to be licensed. The delivery companies could assure compliance through their apps. There are many reckless bicycle riders, but regulating them is hard. Regulating the delivery services by requiring licenses on all delivery vehicles seems like a manageable issue. Then the police need to enforce the laws to protect pedestrian safety.

    1. Most of these vehicles do require both registration and licensing. When they don’t have a registration plate, they can be impounded. That is probably the strongest measure we can take and the police do have the authority to do it.

  3. I don’t want this to be a thing where we’re hammering folks who are already experiencing a lot of life challenges. At the same time, I hate having these motorbikes rip through the sidewalks around my work office, or blast through the trails in my neighborhood city parks. I also am wary of folks who don’t have license plates visible, as required by law (both the motor bikes and cars for that matter). I support the enforcement focus that is taking place currently.

    1. Yes, it’s scooter and motorbike owners who are “already experiencing a lot of life challenges.”

      They’re not like older, happy-go-lucky folks who are ONLY experiencing cancer, heart disease, strokes, Parkinson’s, dementia, hip replacements, the use of walkers and canes, loss of a spouse, and such.

      WOKE are we?

      Having said that, I have noticed certain cohorts of car drivers (which I won’t name) who do not know how to drive.
      They don’t know right-of-way automobile turning rules or the rules that say not to drive so close they’re almost up some other car’s rear end.
      Where did they learn to drive?

  4. Can the state require drivers to have a license to drive scooters? (I notice that some scooter drivers don’t follow traffic rules.)

    And, to avoid penalizing the largely immigrant population that you suggest might be driving these scooters, are you considering legislation for business selling the scooters, requiring them to add license plates, track sales, register scooters upon sales, require helmets be sold, etc.? (I sometimes see the people driving scooters without helmets as well.)

    Another idea could be requiring delivery services to also track this information of the drivers. Maybe the delivery services could be required to provide helmets as well.

    Of course, that doesn’t address all the non-delivery scooter owners nor the current folks on the street.

    I appreciate the very important consideration of whatever is put in place have a lens towards equity.

  5. I’m very glad to hear efforts are underway. It’s a serious problem made worse by the diversity of vehicles: upright scooters, powered skateboards, Vespas, electric bikes and those wild unicycle. Of great concern I have seen children transported on scooters as I did in Mumbai. We can’t let feelings about “just trying to earn a living” lead to chaos on our streets which will lead to ruined lives and loss of life.

    1. Agree 100% It’s a form of paternalism that doesn’t lift people up in the long run.

  6. Thank you for the concern and update. A bigger problem than the scooters are the delivery and ride share drivers double parking, particularly along Boylston Street in the Fenway. They pay no attention to the ends of the blocks where spaces are provided for them to pickup passengers. They also will double park for delivery pick ups and drop offs when there is a space right in front of them to pull into.

  7. It seems to me that enforcement of proper licensing and obeying the rules of the road are 2 separate issues. These electric powered vehicles don’t belong on our sidewalks. Perhaps something short of confiscation is warranted and the delivery companies certainly should do all they can to support their drivers getting licensed.

    1. What do you mean “support getting licensed”?
      Having a license should be a requirment.

      1. I don’t want red light cameras. (I don’t want led billboards.) Why can’t we keep our character? Instead of legislating in Big Brother technical “fixes” we should come at the problem from the other side and foster moral and civic learning and New England social norms.

        1. I wish to make a complaint. Like Mr. Praline’s parrot the Democratic Party is no more! It’s stone dead. It ceases to be! It exists in name only, and this November we may add the final nail and give full rein to the Socialist (protoCommunist always the endpoint) Progressives.

  8. Safety concerns should far outweigh income and equity issues. How about “safety equity” for us pedestrians? Being a pedestrian can be harrowing enough with bad drivers and bicyclists, without the need to worry about walking on sidewalks and crossing at a marked crosswalks. Being a poor immigrant is not an excuse to not hold those who flout safety-related rules accountable. On my fairly rare recent driving experience in Boston and Central/Kendall area of Camb, too many scooters weave around car traffic, drive faster then the speed limit in bike lanes (endangering bicyclists obeying the rules), blow through red lights.

  9. I’m concerned about the ATV vehicles and dirt bikes that are driving in massive numbers around the city, police should try to confiscate their vehicles, they pop wheelies and endanger the public. Hope they can stop this practice this summer . Difficult to do but maybe at least a couple at a time would help .

  10. I am most concerned about the safety of children who zip around on motorized skateboards. They don’t look like mopeds, motorbikes or motor scooters but they can go as fast as any of those vehicles and are being driven by children who are undoubtedly not even old enough for a learner’s permit. I’ve seen several close calls where youngsters have been dangerously reckless. They use both the sidewalk and the street at equal speeds. I hope I’m not too off topic but this seems relevant to the safety or lack thereof of other small motorized vehicles.

  11. It seems there are at least facets to the issue of unregistered motor bikes on the road/sidewalks. One cohort is the delivery drivers trying to make a living. The other is the youngsters joy riding in groups, taking over the roadway, doing wheelies, and nearly terrorizing drivers and pedestrians alike. I would support coming down harder on them through enforcement while doing what we can to support the delivery people to come into compliance with the law with the cooperation of the services they work for.

  12. The delivery motorcycle driver who hit my parked car spoke no English but wanted me to give her money. She hit me while driving between cars. I didn’t know what to do so I suggested we report the accident to the police. She quickly drove off on the sidewalk. I think the problem is the delivery companies don’t know who is driving and the drivers don’t know it is illegal to weave between cars or drive on the sidewalk because they are not not licensed or insured and don’t read English to pass licensing requirements. Education and training would help. Interviewing the drivers on Boylston Street and helping them understand the safety laws is really necessary because they and we are not safe as it is now.

    1. Could you report the hit to whatever the company you used? Might get dangerous motorcycler off the road. Maybe it’s a she said, no speak English. Probably easier said than done.

  13. *I should have mentioned that some of these electric skateboards are ‘kid speed friendly’ but I see more that are as fast as vehicles intended for adult use.

  14. I frequently see e-bikes (as well as regular bikes) on the sidewalks where they endanger pedestrians. They travel at the same speed as city cars and should be licensed. We need enforcement to discourage ALL bikers from using the sidewalks.

  15. As stated in the first comment, any vehicle used for delivery should be licensed. The businesses that employ the drivers should be required to maintain a list of their drivers and registration information. All bicycles, not just electric one, used for deliveries should also be subject to the same requirements. Years ago there were problems with bike messengers dashing through traffic and creating safety issues for pedestrians. I don’t remember how, or if, this situation was addressed, or if it just disappeared once email and electronic communication took over. Not sure about seizing the bikes, I think whoever enforces this should have a range of options. If there is a collision, or the drivers are behaving really recklessly, it might be justified. If it is a matter of the cycle/scooter is just unregistered, maybe find a way to get the information on the spot and issue a temporary registration. Finally, I just want to add we are drawing from the same population of Massholes that slow rolls through stop signs, jaywalks everywhere, and thinks Storrow Drive is a fine place to cycle. Almost all of us are part of the problem, in one way or another. Me included.

  16. I realize how difficult enforcement around this issue may be. I have narrowly been hit by these electrical scooters around my workplace, when I am trying to enjoy sidewalks around the city, and multiple times, I have observed people on these motor vehicles scream obscenities at pedestrians- who are aware of their surroundings, but who are not prepared to contend with motor vehicles on narrow paths. I have also seen the destruction these vehicles cause to wildlife. I have seen then strike and kill geese and ducklings with no regard. We can’t have these vehicles on sidewalks- they present a danger to humans and animals alike. I appreciate the responses to this crisis, and hope that it will have an impact in protecting public safety.

  17. More consequences of poor decision making. Illegally bringing in more immigrants to gain political advantage will boomerang on the dopes who encouraged this. Same with the road narrowing bike lanes. All meant to make life miserable. Communists love misery and making people suffer. It’s in their DNA.

    1. Hi Mark – While I appreciate your opinion, I don’t think it’s helping to address the issues at hand at all.

      I’m a naturalized immigrant and I’ve worn all three “hats” in the city over the past decade – pedestrian, cyclist, driver. Boston Metro area is one of the most walkable US cities I’ve experienced, yet there are MANY intersections that are dangerous to pedestrians by design. Cycling is a really convenient, heart-healthy, and emissions free way to get around and the expansion of bike lanes has drastically improved the perceived safety and comfort of getting around the metro area for many people. Bikes are also way more affordable to maintain and easier to park than a car for many people. I’ll readily admit that some bike lanes are problematically designed for all parties involved and require everyone to stay alert and use their common sense. Driving in Boston is usually an awful experience all around. I don’t think anyone gets behind the wheel in the city expecting to have a nice relaxed time. The city is not designed to handle this many cars, which causes a lot of congestion and forces people to drive aggressively and often break traffic rules (both intentionally and not). I also understand the challenge and sometimes frustration of sharing the road with cyclists. They are difficult to see and many (admittedly) break traffic rules sometimes because it is SAFER to do so at certain intersections. I highly recommend trying to bicycle one day so you can understand first hand.

      Ultimately, we live in a society and we make concessions to live together and enjoy the shared benefits and face the challenges that come with diversity of human lived experiences – social and economic exchange. I would actually argue that the changes you see around you is actually Capitalism and Democracy in action because other people in your society have voted or advocated for them to happen.

      Thanks for your time and take care!

    2. Yup. We can’t have growth and housing where we want to have it. We can dictate the zoning and construction of housing in “MBTA Communities,” but we can’t force people to become second class citizens by forgoing cars. Only the paternalistic elites can get by without cars on a regular basis and then only the able-bodies ones. Owning a car is an economic imperative and a functional imperative. You can build housing on public transport and ratchet up the pain on Boylston Street and the Hammond Pond Parkway but only a nominal, trivial few will be added to ridership and bike path usage.

      During congestion how will emergency vehicles get through with no room for cars and trucks to squeeze over? How will these lane restricted/constricted roads with massive separated bile lanes and insurmountable curbing function as evacuation routes (whether official routes, or not)?

    3. The redistribution of misery.

      Yup. We can’t have growth and housing where we want to have it. We can dictate the zoning and construction of housing in “MBTA Communities,” but we can’t force people to become second class citizens by forgoing cars. Only the paternalistic elites can get by without cars on a regular basis and then only the able-bodies ones. Owning a car is an economic imperative and a functional imperative. You can build housing on public transport and ratchet up the pain on Boylston Street and the Hammond Pond Parkway but only a nominal, trivial few will be added to ridership and bike path usage. During congestion how will emergency vehicles get through with no room for cars and trucks to squeeze over? How will these lane restricted/constricted roads with massive separated bile lanes and insurmountable curbing function as evacuation routes (whether official routes, or not)?

  18. I am glad you are raising this topic. Suddenly it seems like I encounter these scooters/motorbikes every time I walk in the city – which is everyday. The drivers are aggressive and unconcerned about pedestrians/traffic. I don’t care that that food app delivery is an easy job for a person without other options – I care whether I and others can safely walk (or drive) in the city without risk of a catastrophic accident at the hands of an unregulated motorized bike driver. “Equity” is a false idol in this conversation (what does it even mean in these circumstances?) – safety and regulation need to be prioritized.

    1. Indeed. DEIB is a degenerate, socialist ideology. Diversity, equality, equity, belonging are all good things, but there is no such thing as a free lunch and MLK and other incrementalists thought more deeply and saw much farther. They knewe what we will only too late come to find, that these initiatives are divisive and corrupting to the human spirit. I would say that DEIB was well-intentioned, but the prime movers are driven by ego, power, avarice and fear. DEIB requires compromises of the democratic ideals and principles such as equality, equality under the law, freedom of speech, and so on.

    2. Enforcement beginning with warnings. Maybe work with agencies and non profits to come up with a viable plan. The mayor wants more electric bikes. A relative in Brooklyn says there are way too many there, unregulated, etc. Find an equitable solution. Aside from traffic jams, they may be on sidewalk due to aggressive, unpredictable drivers.
      I moved to the area several years ago, thinking I’d always ride a bike everywhere as I had previously elsewhere. My reaction upon arrival, the roads are a mess and the drivers are crazy:) That was that.

  19. I’m all for enforcement and the crackdown on these vehicles without registration, license plate, or motorcycle licenses. But I’d also like to see some amount of traditional enforcement. From what I gather, it’s standard practice since covid to have about a second window after the light turns red to enter the intersection and completely blow through it. Or to speed and rip through smaller side streets. I’ve been driving 20 years and it seems that it’s really gone downhill in the past couple. I would hope that this crackdown expands to other road users.

    1. Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback. As an avid cyclist, I see a lot of these issues. Essentially, we are behind on the regulatory side regarding the evolution of electric powered bikes, scooters, etc. They’re great and welcome but need to be managed better as a public safety issue. The higher level electric bikes/scooters are the equivalent of gas powered mopeds in speed, risk, and safety. Yet, we regularly see them on bike paths. There is little margin for error … for example, you could have a kid riding a bike 5 mph with an adult passing at 28 mph on an electric whereas a cyclist would almost always slow down, give warning and take safety measures.

    2. I agree with Jason here. Scooters and motorbikes are a concern, but I don’t have the same fear for my life from them as a do from reckless car drivers. It’s a daily occurrence to watch cars drive through red lights, and these violations by cars are a lot more likely to cause permanent damage than scooters.

  20. I was stepping off a curb in the Back Bay area once and a bicycle, probably a delivery guy, almost hit me. It took my breath away. If you watch the bikers, they don’t obey traffic rules like car operators have to. Very annoying. They whiz thru a four way intersection when the lights are red so pedestrians can cross. They take pleasure in beating the system and saving time. I really don’t think the police will do anything until there is some kind of licensing. Someone who is an immigrant isn’t going to be held accountable because of the double standard going on. Someone’s in court and the judge tells a court officer to open the door and let him out.

    1. Recall, that the Massachusetts Hands-Free Law was approved by a plurality of Massachusetts voters, but democracy, the will of the people, self-governance is held in abeyance following the confluence of Covid, BLM actions, yet more nails in journalism’s coffin, and more. Then there’s the antidemocratic changes to MBTA Communities Act. These things and more conspire to loosten the primacy of democracy.

      1. The proliferation of lawlessness in operating internal combustion motor scooters is part and parcel with other ills and dysfunctions we are seeing like DEI/B and its attendant antisemitism, the corporate ownership of the extremes of both parties (plus cooption of third parties).

  21. The one thing the legislature could do to get local police to enforce driving law more forcefully is to give local communities financial incentive to do so. Remember Boston way back when the court system got 100% of the money from parking tickets. The city of Boston did not really bother. And in many places double parking, and overtime parking was out of control. Then the legislature changed the split to give the City of Boston, or any other community I think 25% of the money from parking tickets. Overnight the city of Boston started to write massive amounts of parking tickets and is very aggressive to this day about ticketing for parking. Of course be-careful about what you wish for, Massachusetts has a large number of people who are what I would call very poor drivers. And if the police start really enforcing the rules of the road, it will not be just the scooter drives who get cited, but people who do not use blinkers, bad lane changers, red and yellow light runners, speeders. You get the idea and think about the points on your insurance too.

  22. I am 87 yrs old and handicapped. I use a folding electric tricycle to get around. Will my means of taking my dog for a walk, or traversing lengthy hospital corridors, be legislated against? The wording of any proposed law must be very carefully considered. Not all users are wild teenagers.

  23. An addendum to my previous message:
    In Belmont the sidewalks are very uneven and unusable for my electric tricycle. I have to use the roads while dodging around horrendous potholes and floods from poor drainage.

  24. This is a multi-faceted problem. It is very similar to the one with bicycle couriers 20-30 years ago. The Internet bicycle couries out of business bu with a boost from the pandemic, it has helped the delivery business to flourish.
    * The incentive to make as many deliveries as possible on a work shift leads to risk taking.
    * Employers are not held responsible for the actions of workers they hire under contract.
    * Without education on safe road skills (such as for motorcyclists with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses or for bicyclists with the CyclingSavvy program), riders have a poor sense of actual risks or how to avoid them and will often take actions in the name of safety (such as riding on sidewalks) which actually increase risks for themselves as well as others. That is exacerbated becausemany delivery drivers did not grow up with US traffic culture.
    * A “me first and that’s tough, buddy” motoring culture, and traffic congestion (too many cars in too little space).
    ***********
    To this, I’ll add two factors which are novel since the courier
    * The lack of a forward-looking and comprehensive traffic plan, instead advocay for increased bicycle use by that has led to bicycle facilities of widely differing quality, cutting corners on safety concerns and unsuitable for travel at the speeds which e-bikes and motor scooters can achieve; some (e.g., door zone bike lanes) unsafe even at slow bicycle speeds — but which often provide a way for delivery drivers to get around congested traffic.
    * The advent of unregistered powered vehicles with unlicensed operators — not only e-bikes and gasoline-powered scooters, but out-of-class electrically-powered machines which look like e-bikes but can go faster.
    ***********
    Solutions? I agree with other commenters that delivery drivers should be licensed. Licensing should include a meaningful education requirement and test as it does for a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license. Employers should be held responsible. Infrastructure planning and motoring culture need a re-think to accommodat the new vehicle types. Will these things happen? It depends on how great an effort several sectors of society are willing to put into it. I am not holding out great hopes, because the culture of speed holds so much sway in this country. I could be wrong. I hope so. I visited Taiwan 22 years ago and saw how motor scooters fit very comfortably into a traffic mix that also included large vehicles. We might take some lessons from that example.

    1. Sorry about typos — message was sent before I meant to send it. Try this instead! Admin — you may replace the original comment with this one, and delete thsi reply..
      *************
      This is a multi-faceted problem. It is very similar to the one with bicycle couriers 20-30 years ago. The Internet put bicycle couriers out of business, but with a boost from the pandemic, it has helped the delivery business to flourish.
      * The incentive to make as many deliveries as possible on a work shift leads to risk taking.
      * Employers are not held responsible for the actions of workers they hire under contract.
      * Without education on safe road skills (such as for motorcyclists with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation courses or for bicyclists with the CyclingSavvy program), riders have a poor sense of actual risks or how to avoid them and will often take actions in the name of safety (such as riding on sidewalks) which actually increase risks for themselves as well as others. That is exacerbated because many delivery drivers did not grow up with US traffic culture.
      * A “me first and that’s tough, buddy” motoring culture, and traffic congestion (too many cars in too little space).
      ***********
      To this, I’ll add two factors which are novel since the courier crisis:
      * The lack of a forward-looking and comprehensive traffic plan, instead advocacy for increased bicycle use that has led to bicycle facilities of widely differing quality, cutting corners on safety and unsuitable for travel at the speeds which e-bikes and motor scooters can achieve; some (e.g., door zone bike lanes) unsafe even at slow bicycle speeds — but which facilities often provide a way for delivery drivers to get around congested traffic.
      * The advent of unregistered powered vehicles with unlicensed operators — not only e-bikes and gasoline-powered scooters, but out-of-class electrically-powered machines which masquerade as e-bikes but can go faster.
      ***********
      Solutions? I agree with other commenters that delivery drivers should be licensed. Licensing should include a meaningful education requirement and test as it does for a motorcycle endorsement on a driver’s license. Employers should be held responsible. Infrastructure planning and motoring culture need a re-think to accommodate the new vehicle types.
      Will these things happen? It depends on how great an effort several sectors of society are willing to put into it. I am not holding out great hope, because the culture of speed holds so much sway in this country. I could be wrong. I hope so. I visited Taiwan 22 years ago and saw how motor scooters fit very comfortably into a traffic mix that also included large vehicles. We might take some lessons from that example.

  25. I would agree with others’ suggestion about a multi-faceted approach. I’m actually a cyclist and have experienced NUMEROUS near collision with motorized scooters over the past few months. While I would agree that public safety is the number 1 concern that should be addressed, I have thoughts on how to accomplish this in an equitable manner. Confiscation of a motorized vehicle can be very traumatic for someone who’s immediate livelihood depends on it. That being said, maybe there is a way to implement a process of returning these vehicles with a paid ticket fee, license registration, and proof of completing traffic school (in English or Spanish, etc.) within a set time period. Leveraging these requirements might be hard to enforce and may need to be coordinated with motorized vehicle sellers. I would agree that food delivery companies should be held more liable for their drivers’ qualifications. I also think a lot of this is growing pains of micro-mobility in the city and requires a cultural change and clearer public communication about rules of the road that account for all the players involved.

    This is a frustrating and complex topic and there is no one right answer unfortunately.
    I will say that modern cars are way oversized for daily needs of an average person. I would also argue for more strict enforcement of speed limits in the city and for a size tax on SUVs and trucks. These cars are dramatically more lethal to both pedestrians and cyclists than any moped.

  26. Scanning the 15 comments posted prior to my writing this, I am struck by the silent pass almost all give to the electric scooters on sidewalks. True, they are less likely to kill a pedestrian outright, but the fractures that an elderly person (I am one) might receive in a collision could be a death sentence.

    1. I too worry about this usually in winter! Slip and fall. Where do you see the electric scooters on the sidewalk so I can be forewarned. Don’t see this in Brighton, so far. Thank you.

  27. Thanks for asking, this is a complex issue. I thought above a certain power or speed capability they need to be registered and the driver licensed, or they should be. Enforce this rigorously especially in pedestrian zones with dedicated traffic police and CCTV. For delivery app scooters, fine the driver and the app, that should share the burden with the apps that are making a lot of money and the drivers who may be low-wage people. App scooters should be able to be disabled if they wander into a pedestrian zone (the one I used in Lisbon did!).

    1. I don’t understand why this is so complicated. The motor bikes and scooters, by law, are not allowed on the sidewalks. If traveling on the street, they must obey stop signs and traffic lights. Break the law, suffer the consequences. You are implying ( previous statements) that these drivers are often immigrants of meager means. So that means they can break the law? That’s no argument! Hit them with a nominal fine or citation and if they get a few, maybe they’ll abide by the rules. If I run a red light or drive my vehicle on the sidewalk, what would happen to me??? And where are the police?

  28. I live on Newbury St which has a plethora of take-out food establishments, and as a result I’ve seen just about every infraction by delivery motorcyclists (these ARE motorcycles, not pedal scooters), such riding on the sidewalk crowded with people for an entire block in order to avoid a one-way street. I have two suggestions that shift more of the burden to the businesses: 1) Public Alleys are usually empty and are thus under-utilized, so use the Public Alleys (i.e. rear entrances of restaurants) for 3rd-party pick-ups, and require restaurants to provide a parking space out back for idling delivery vehicles; 2) Put the onus on the delivery COMPANIES, not just the drivers, to have licensed vehicles; i.e. the company should have register its contracted licensed vehicles with the city, and the driver must show proof of this to the restaurant: if no license, no food will be handed over. After all, Uber and Lyft drivers have to be licensed, don’t they? It’s time for GrubHub, DoorDash etc, to pay for the real costs incurred by the city and public for their business model.
    Then there is the issue of people riding electric (true) scooters (often at >15 mph) on sidewalks, the Esplanade, the Commonwealth Mall, etc – NO powered vehicles should be allowed on pedestrian and bicycle pavements, but that’s a whole other problem…

  29. It’s dangerous out there, with mopeds, electric bikes & scooters, going anywhere and any direction they want.
    We’re old, walk a lot, and try to be alert and on the lookout for these dangers and appreciate the attention to this issue.

  30. motorized scooters and ebikes on sidewalks and mixed-use paths (and reckless bikers) commonly go as fast as cars on-street, seriously endangering seniors (I’m one). There MUST be a go-slow law and serious ENFORCEMENT of it, or else there’s no reason for the reckless, speedy people to slow down. Indeed, our sidewalks, like the streets, have become a place where the bullies rule.

  31. I have an e- bike and a regular bike and be sure to stick to the paths/lanes and bike slowly around pedestrians. Cars opening doors and turning right puts me at risk every single time I ride on the street. More protected bike lanes and paths help, but then people going too fast on e-scooters, e-bikes, and motorbikes (lately have seen a few wearing dark motorcycle helmets) also become dangerous to both bicyclists and pedestrians.
    Lately I have seen e-scooters and motorbikes run red lights in between cars already going the other direction- this is seriously a danger to everyone! They will also go out in front of vehicles on crosswalks without looking and go so fast the driver doesn’t have time to stop. Last summer, I saw an e- scooter rider lay unmoving in the middle of a crosswalk, seriously injured or dead and waiting for an ambulance. I’m not sure if they were hit or had a bad fall in an unfortunate location (and alcohol may have played a role, as it was late on a weekend). It’s truly horrible and I’m seeing these types of problems more and more.
    I’m really glad this is being addressed by being enforced because it’s so unsafe. At the same time, there’s got to be a way to reward biking, e- bikes, e- scooters, and motorbikes that go slowly and safely, observing laws. Positive reinforcement is a stronger motivator than punishment (although both can be important in shaping behavior). Maybe we can look to England and other parts of Europe to see how they’ve handled e- bikes and e-scooters, as they were early adopters at least of e- bikes. We need more sustainable modes of transport because less cars in the road is better for everyone, but we also need some rewards, reinforcement of rules, and above all, safety for everyone in the great city of Boston!

  32. Enforcement of this will not be easy. The failure of BPD/MSP to crack down on dirt bikes/ATVs doesn’t give me much faith. If possible can the MSP be directed to take troopers off of speed traps on state roads and crack down on the scooters and dirt bikes/atvs?

  33. I encounter heavy scooters (really small motorcycles) on the bike and community paths every time I ride my bike. Likewise in the bike lanes. They are very dangerous there. Please push for enforcement to be stepped up in these paths and lanes in addition to other places.

  34. I am shocked at all the negativity. I encounter bikes, Ebikes motorized one wheeled transports and noisy moped things.
    Except for the noisy motorized bikes everyone else has been fine. There are times they ride on sidewalks but that’s only in areas that are to dangerous to be on the street (no bike lanes). I don’t see them as being so different than bikes which I don’t think should need to be licensed. I think people should be more relaxed about it. Create more bike lanes and people will use them. When you see someone being reckless say something. When I read most of these other comments I notice a lot of unaddressed anger and frustration because they have a lot of assumptions and few conversations with these people on these scooters and e-bikes etc. They don’t bother me.

    1. There really is a difference IMO between e-bikes (such as blue bikes) with and small motorcycles or dirt bikes. The latter seem to be driven almost exclusively by delivery drivers from what I’ve encountered. Any powered vehicle capable of going over a certain speed (30?) should be required to be registered & licensed. It is really getting bad out there with hordes of motor scooters weaving in & out of traffic lanes, bike lanes & sidewalks. I’ve almost been hit in my car, on my bike, and walking. I agree with holding the delivery apps accountable for drivers who deliver dangerously. I’m surprised we haven’t heard about more injuries & fatalities given the increased reckless driving I’ve witnessed.

    2. Travel to Boston proper and within an hour you will see multiple instances of Motor scooters of the internal combustion variety both regular cc and maxi cc and you will see “indentured contractors” making u-turns (in front of police), driving on sidewalks, filtering between traffic and pedestrians.

  35. Most of the vehicle drivers (car, truck, bus, bicycle, motorcycle, moto scooter, e- skateboard, etc.) that use our city streets obey the laws, but there are handful that do not. For the negative comments of various forms of transportation, please don’t say X or Y are bad, that is stereotyping one mode of vehicular transportation into a category that is incorrect and inappropriate. Behind every vehicle is a person. Individuals who do not obey the laws, regardless of vehicle, are the ones to blame and need to be held accountable for their actions I completely agree that motorized vehicles, including bicycle, belong on the road, not on sidewalks As a cyclist commuting through Cambridge for over 20 years, I’ve seen it all.

    As others have said, this is a complex issue and I’m sure some bright minds can come together with a solution. If you’re going to drive a motorized vehicle, it needs to be registered and the driver needs to be trained and licensed. If a company is going to hire someone to drive for them, they need to make sure they are licensed and the vehicle is registered. If a company is flouting the law they should be held accountable. If a driver is flouting the law they should be held accountable. We have the laws, they just need to be enforced.

    In spite of the other comments, and since Massachusetts offers the drivers exam in 34 languages, I do not think there is a requirement to read and speak English. I do not know how this variablity fits into the ability to read traffic signs???

    On a positive note as our world evolves and changes I think we need to figure out how to adapt. Do we really need a delivery truck for a box lunch? They take up too much space. They double park and block traffic in many cases. And they pollute. A scooter, bike, or a bike can easily fit behind a parked car and make a delivery of small parcels. As someone indicated above their many parts of the world where this is common place and managed well. Lessons can be learned by looking beyond our board

  36. I have nothing to add to a comment I made on the subject a little more than two years ago:

    “If [e-bikes] are allowed they should be limited to . . . lower speeds. Power is one thing, and I have no objection to an e-bike that has plenty of that for moving cargo. But speed is another, and even 20 mph is _fast_ for civilian rider (I average 16 mph over distance, and I’m not dawdling); 28 mph is 45 kph, and that’s peloton-speed. Allowing less- or un-experienced riders . . . to move that fast in city traffic or on bike paths is looking for a world of trouble.

  37. For a start, police can easily monitor them as they park by the dozens on both sides of Boylston Street in front of the Chick-fil-A and other fast food restaurants in Copley Square. They take up parking spaces with out paying for them. They park on the sidewalk in front of the construction fence at the Copley Square park. Knowing that there is no policing of their activities, they feel emboldened that they can do whatever they please.

  38. I’m not sure what the right way to do license enforcement is, but it is difficult for me to imagine a future where scooters and other small vehicles are not part of a solution to traffic problems. In Allston, a crackdown on scooters could lead to more cars double parking in the bike lanes and bus lanes on Harvard Ave and Brighton Ave. Confiscation is – at best – a small part of a real solution.

  39. This solution is to the wrong problem. The presence or lack of a license plate just indicates if the city got its money; not a safety issue. The safety issue is the presence of moving motorized vehicles on sidewalks. How will licensing the vehicles get them off the sidewalk?

    I also agree with your concern that seizing the method someone makes their living, especially when they are already, vulnerable will only do harm.

    If a police solution is required, then foot patrols that stop motorized vehicles on sidewalks would make more sense.

  40. I just returned from a walk on the Esplanade and someone on their scooter was driving over one of the Lagoon bridges to the outer island. Is that allowed? I think signs posted don’t even allow bikes on the islands, though that is never followed.

    I’m glad something is being done. I’m glad the city is taking this seriously. I have seen so many people almost get hit. I have seen so many scooters on sidewalks and going up streets the wrong way,, or down the Commonwealth Ave., Mall. And the thing that may scare me the most is that so many scooters (and bicycles) are going through pedestrian walks that are FULL Of people who think they are safely crossing.

    I agree there need to be more regulations, and they need to be enforced. If you drive or ride in this town, you should know the rules and follow them. I think bicycles are also part of the problem.

    Thanks for working on this for us.

      1. What about subverting the will of the Massachusetts voters by killing the Massachusetts Hands-Free Law? How can Beacon Hill be trusted?

    1. Red light cameras are un American. If we have them, use them for accountability post accident not to not to tighten the screws and squeeze the last breath of liberty out of our lings.

  41. Adding to the danger of walking in a city where so many drivers are distracted, law breakers, and risk takers can’t be a good thing.

  42. Yes, better enforcement needs to be a piece of the solution, but let’s get real: If you’re a cop in a car, how do you catch a dirt bike whose operator ALREADY drives on sidewalks and bike lanes (even when he’s not trying to avoid arrest)? And how do you cite an operator if a vehicle that doesn’t have a license.

    Beyond that, why should the responsibility for and cost of enforcement fall entirely on law enforcement? Once we get a registration system that actually works (by my unscientific observation over three months, 9 out of 10 of these bikes have no license), the major delivery services (DoorDash, GrubHub, Uber Eats, etc.) should have to pay a fine for every violation, just like their operators do. or maybe double the fine for the companies to get their attention. And let’s involve the dealers who sell the dirt bikes—require any buyer to take prescribed training and secure a license before they can take possession of the vehicle.

    To those commenters who’ve argued that equity plays no role in this conversation, I vehemently disagree. It’s simplistic to call for stronger enforcement without recognizing America’s dismal history of (predominantly white) police abusing their powers to target people of color and without means. These operators are overwhelmingly young, overwhelmingly of color, and surely don’t have a ton of other options for earning income. We need a solution that mixes stronger enforcement, more aggressive outreach/education, a training requirement for licensing, and a fine structure stiff enough to force the delivery services to change payment and incentive structures in ways that let dirt bikers earn a reasonable living without injuring themselves or anyone around them.

    1. If politicians are not already in the pocket of Uber and the like and Big tech, then they have more interest in being aligned with the zeitgeist than in the principles of fairness to business and public safety, both of the exploited app workers and the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

  43. The drivers are being exploited and their behavior is a direct result of the delivery company policies.
    John Oliver did an episode on the delivery apps and it’s affect on restaurants and the drivers.
    I posted the link earlier but it was not allowed. Google “john oliver food delivery apps” and the you tube video will be right there.

  44. Is this happening in a specific area? I feel like I rarely encounter scooters, and I walk every day.

  45. Uber, GrubHub, and all the like are a major predatory force that exploits with absolute impugning there corrosive economic position, exploits their “employees”, or “indentures contractors,” exploit businesses and DEMANDS their drivers violate social norms and our laws, via how they choose to program their algorithm.

    DON’T GIVE UBER, GRUB HUB AND THE LIKE A PASS FOR EXPLOITING VULNERABLE DELIVERY PERSONS WHO HAVEN’T THE MORAL FORTITUDE OR ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE TO BEHAVE AS WE EXPECT OUR CITIZENS TO BEHAVE.

    If we hold everyone to follow the same standards, rules, laws by penalize the App companies and drivers both financially and by other sanctions and neutralize any and all “bonus profits” from operating outside the law then that’s a good start.

    Also, in addition to the peril on the roads and debasements and degeneration of social norms and laws is the exponential rise in littering. These app delivery drivers tidy up their vehicles by throwing their waste out of sunroof, window cracked open door. With clueless, or malicious audacity they litter right in from of the addresses they delivered to or dropped off a fare at. They litter up and down the streets and we all know the parking lots at pharmacies, grocery stores, coffee shops are filthy with dumped trash and dumped drinks. Some were simply raised in a barn and will be corrected with healthy socialization (if that is aloud by the Ministry of Political Correctness cum Ministry of Wokeness)

    I am a lifelong Democrat who has never voted Republican, but my party has fully become the living caricature of conservatives taunts and warnings.

    They have no accountability. No door numbers.

  46. Uber, GrubHub, and all the like are a major predatory force that exploits with absolute impugning there corrosive economic position, exploits their “employees”, or “indentures contractors,” exploit businesses and DEMANDS their drivers violate social norms and our laws, via how they choose to program their algorithm. DON’T GIVE UBER, GRUB HUB AND THE LIKE A PASS FOR EXPLOITING VULNERABLE DELIVERY PERSONS WHO HAVEN’T THE MORAL FORTITUDE OR ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE TO BEHAVE AS WE EXPECT OUR CITIZENS TO BEHAVE. If we hold everyone to follow the same standards, rules, laws by penalize the App companies and drivers both financially and by other sanctions and neutralize any and all “bonus profits” from operating outside the law then that’s a good start. Also, in addition to the peril on the roads and debasements and degeneration of social norms and laws is the exponential rise in littering. These app delivery drivers tidy up their vehicles by throwing their waste out of sunroof, window cracked open door. With clueless, or malicious audacity they litter right in from of the addresses they delivered to or dropped off a fare at. They litter up and down the streets and we all know the parking lots at pharmacies, grocery stores, coffee shops are filthy with dumped trash and dumped drinks. Some were simply raised in a barn and will be corrected with healthy socialization (if that is aloud by the Ministry of Political Correctness cum Ministry of Wokeness) I am a lifelong Democrat who has never voted Republican, but my party has fully become the living caricature of conservatives taunts and warnings. It is not alarmism or hyperbole. The inevitable endpoint of the path my Democratic Party is absolute polarity, loss of liberty, strife and political instability until a period of absolutism.

  47. I quit bicycling to work several years ago before electric bikes and scooters were common. What caused me to quit riding was distracted drivers. Driving while talking on a phone was never a good idea. Now it’s against the law, yet I see drivers every day talking on cell phones that are not hands free (as if even hands free phones were not a bad idea for drivers)
    There is no excuse for anybody driving a hulking car to be talking on a phone, yet it is common to see. Folks should look at their own reckless behavior.
    And there should be more attention paid to stop THIS selfish and dangerous habit. Yes! There is much to say about these new vehicles and there needs to be a thoughtful debate about what can and should be done to make the roads a safer place for everybody. At the same time a serious threat to everybody’s safety on and near the roads is stubbornly being overlooked.

  48. The concern is that certain types of small motor scooters may not belong on sidewalks, bike lanes, and even most roadways, yet they’ve been invented and are are desired by certain low-wage workers who appreciate the low entry fee they offer. And that of course brings him to play companies (eg, Doordash) that in effect are encouraging this new, illegal, and possibly unsuitable activity. That question needs to be examined and resolved in the first instance, and then we’d need either (i) an enforcement system that works without needlessly restricting workers or (ii) other lines of work for low-wage workers that don’t involve new, dangerous, problematic means of transport.

  49. If it has wheels, has a driver or rider, and is intended to be driven/ridden on our streets, it should be licensed. PERIOD. Including bicycles which have been a problem for years.

  50. Thank you Senator for this. E-scooters and E-bikes as they are called now, are becoming a real problem not only for pedestrians but also for traffic because their users do not follow any traffic regulations.
    But they also have an additional risk, they are a real fire hazard because they use lithium-ion batteries that can easily overheat and catch fire, many condo buildings are not prohibiting them and regulating their use and storage.

  51. Our most recent encounter with a scooter was on the park area around the Avalon building near the Prudential center. This is purely a pedestrian zone. A scooter from behind came within inches of my husband. It was too quiet for him to hear. Thank you, Will, for taking up this issue.

  52. Regulation will certainly have some impact. It would also likely help for those (like myself) that don’t really *need* delivery service to use them less frequently. I realize, lately, how quickly my deliveries have been arriving and it’s hard to not see how I benefit from the system that also has major issues.

  53. Having lived as an expat in a third-world country for a number of years, where police routinely trashed the vehicles of poor rickshaw drivers, I can sympathize with the plight of the poor, often immigrant person who would have his vehicle, possibly his only means of livelihood, seized. On the other hand, I know 2 elderly people who have been struck, fallen, and broken a hip. The motorized vehicles zipping down the sidewalks and the unlicensed full-size motorcycles roaring down Mass Ave for the thrill of being a bad boy are an enfuriating danger. All motorized vehicles must be licensed. While this may lead to a lively industry in fake or stolen license plates, for those that are legitimate it is the only way for a pedestrian or police person to report a violator. Secondly, the App owners must be held totally liable for the dangerous and illegal behavior of their drivers, heavily through their pocketbooks.

  54. I’m glad to see this issue is getting some attention and starting to be addressed.

    It is NOT only delivery drivers who are a problem. It is NOT only motor scooters. Many bikes and scooters defy traffic laws, run red lights, speed along sidewalks, go the wrong way in bike lanes. Pedestrians are often at risk.

    If police ticketed more consistently I believe behavior would start to change.

  55. Everyone at time has money issues or problems this is no excuse to break the law. We need to enforce the laws or things will continue to decline. I say first offense is a warning and the second should be confiscation. I have seen many times they hit a car going between lanes and scratch a car or break a mirror and they keep going. Leaving the driver hit to pay for the damages. Enforcement of laws is the only way to keep this from getting out of control.

  56. If someone doesn’t know or won’t follow the rules of the road (for any reason), they should not be driving any kind of vehicle. It’s not fair to put everyone else at risk.

  57. Living together produces various regularities. Which to some of us appear to be nothing but resources, opportunities to be cheaply exploited. Externalities? Pfft.

    It’s all very familiar. Isn’t it?

  58. If I ran every stop sign and red light as if they weren’t there, drove on the sidewalk, in the bike lane and the wrong way on one way streets, how long do you think I would last before being stopped? Will, I appreciate your bringing this issue to a forum, but seriously, will the city really do anything about this? We all know the answer. The BPD’s hands are tied by the Mayor. Mandate license plates? Confiscation? Ticketing? I think all motorized vehicles should have to be registered, but it simply wont happen in this environment. Again, thank you for allowing this conversation.

  59. The problem of the delivery scooters will continue to expand because the consumer wants ease of access. Sure there should be regulations for the driver and the companies. But the consumer can speak with their wallets. We should get past our Covid mentalities and realize we can actually go and pick up the food(small amount of exercise which might nullify a need for Ozempic or some other Pharma product). Same thing with Amazon etc, support your local small businesses. Our streets have narrowed like our arteries with additional bike lanes and delivery vehicles doubled parked. Additional pollution because traffic moves slower and pollution spewing scooters. What happened to the Clean Air Act? What happened to our right to quiet enjoyment in our homes when we can’t hear ourselves think over the din of these illegal scooters and ATVs not to mention the sirens responding to God knows what? My recollection of typical city code is a child can ride a bike on a sidewalk to the age of 12. And to the point of actual recreational bike trails, they are dangerous enough we don’t need motorized wheels on there, including those crazy one wheels that seem to have the ability to exceed 40mph. And helmets seem to be a fashion faux pas!!! Are there any stats as to the number of injuries related to the increase in these types of vehicles? I would imagine the medical facilities get stuck with the bills for a huge percentage of these visits because people have no insurance. Let’s push for some data on that aspect of ER visits related to 2 wheeled vehicles. In my prejudice when I see a person riding without a helmet I think they are idiots who have no ability to think forward…. and many are entering and exiting the various campuses.

  60. When I’m a pedestrian the fast scooters on sidewalks are a problem. However, they are not more of a problem than fast autos ignoring stop signs and stopping at all crosswalks.

  61. I do not own a scooter, but I do own an E-bike that I use for commuting and taking my toddler to school. I, like many cyclists, do our best to follow rules, and going on the sidewalk is truly a last resort. On streets without dedicated bike lanes, cars often do not share the road. I have heard all kinds of insults thrown at me simply for being on the road – ask any cyclist in and around Boston, this is everyone’s experience. I’m not excusing behaviors that endanger pedestrians, but just sharing some context for why people might get on the sidewalk sometimes. Personally I will only go on it if there aren’t many pedestrians and I will get off and walk if there are.

    1. Hey Yue, this is a separate matter from e bikes since mopeds are a class of motor vehicles and need to be registered and licensed with the state. I’m sorry that drivers harass you but it is Boston/metro Boston drivers, it’s to be expected that you’ll come across massholes from time to time.

  62. Oh dear!! Censorship at work. I see that my post on the subject has not been posted here. I guess handicapped seniors should be out of sight and out of mind.

    1. Not at all, Peter. Just got a little behind on moderation. Sorry about that.

      When a person uses an email address for the first time, their comment is held for moderation.

      Your future comments will appear without delay.

  63. In addition to registration and driver licensing, require at least liability and property damage insurance like other motorized vehicles. The legislature might consider exempting smaller vehicles not being used for commercial purposes from insurance coverage and perhaps licensure, but put responsibility at least on the commercial enterprise employing/paying the driver to make sure that there is a license and insurance to create responsibility.

  64. Bikes and all types of scooters do not belong on sidewalks. Even where there are bike lanes, I see them on the sidewalk as they want to go in the opposite direction and are too lazy to cross the street. In twenty years, I have yet to walk over the Mass Ave bridge without encountering a cyclist on the sidewalk. The city needs to be more aggressive at protecting pedestrian sidewalks. Bikes are silent, fast and can come in any direction.

  65. I have a suggestion. How about finally growing a pair and actually enforcing the law. Let’s be frank here, most of these “delivery drivers” are illegals who don’t want to pay for a license, plates, registration, or insurance because no one is enforcing it. Even though our progressive and liberal state has allowed access for them to obtain all of these things without facing any repercussions, like deportation, they choose not to spend there money and resources on it cause they know they could get away with it. Time for law enforcement to do their job and start seriously cracking down. They need to start arresting and/or impounding theirmopeds. This will set a precedent and a message to all violators that this ain’t no joke and we will arrest you and impound your vehicle.

    1. Yes. There’s clearly a directive to not enforce the law. Our legislative “physicians” must heal themselves.

  66. As someone who is regularly getting cut off on the bike lanes by motorized scooters I think those guys endanger others without realizing it.
    I agree some of those folks are just trying to get thru with their own lives. This is understandable.
    But I also think that shouldn’t happen at my expense.

    The reasonable solution here is overnight detainment. Nobody would want to spend the night over there.
    Most of those people don’t pay taxes, don’t have insurances or even papers, will not be able pay fines.
    So to make them understand is to prevent them from making money. It is brutal but I see no other way.

  67. I was just riding my non-powered bike on the Northern Strand path and saw two police officers patrolling on bicycle. I don’t think they were on e-bikes, but perhaps our police departments should invest in them. My personal opinion is that the multi-use paths should not allow any gas powered vehicles (I have seen my share of motorcycles/scooters using the bike paths) and only electric (bikes, scooters, skateboards, mono-wheels, trikes, etc) that are only capable of achieving 20 mph or less on the flats from their motor. It might be good to also require all e-vehicle operators to have a certificate? license? showing they have been trained in the proper use of their e-vehicle. Actually there are a lot of conventional cyclists that appear to be in need of similar training. A lot of them travel at high speeds within inches of other path users without even giving an audible warning that they are passing from behind. Perhaps our local police departments could implement fines for reckless behavior using video footage provided by path/sidewalk users. I’m guessing it should be possible with face recognition software to identify the miscreants. Or soon will be.

  68. Scooters don’t kill or harm anywhere near the number of people as cars do. Even if there were as many scooters abroad as there are cars, it’s a simple question of physics. Force is a function of speed and mass: cars are larger and faster than scooters. And we’re not even talking about modern kid killing gas guzzling trucks, with hoods at head level. The idea that we would regulate micro mobility while leaving massive murder mobiles on our streets is either crazy, stupid, or both. The blindness to the harm of cars while wailing and clutching of pearls about micro mobility is really difficult to understand or comprehend.

    And for everyone worried about these vehicles being on the sidewalks, where else are they supposed to go? Commit suicide by riding in the street next to cars driven by people like the guy who thinks that someone choosing to ride a better vehicle is a “second class citizen”, and therefore not worthy of his care? That’s not reasonable.

    We need to stop prioritizing cars over people and start investing in giving people the option to use the most efficient mode of transportation they want to. The option means all modes of transportation have infrastructure that is safe, effective, and *dignified*. The best part about this is, when we give people real options, enough people will choose to take better transit that the 20th-century wanna be mad men that stay in their cars will have a better experience, too. As an example, a “bike lane” with paint on a street surround by cars is not safe, effective, or dignified. It doesn’t count.

    As for the racist scumbags all up and down this thread, go away. You’re bad people, and you should go crawl back into your caves and stay there forever.

  69. Several years ago I was injured in a collision with an electric skate board. I’ve had a lot of time to think about the issue. My suggestion would be to separate powered vehicles from pedestrians where possible. In my case I was injured near Alewife T station on a community path where pedestrians, bicycles, and powered vehicles, all shared a single path. There are no accidents. This is just bad design.
    The second thing I would suggest is to incentivize the private insurance and compensation system through legislation. When a pedestrian/E vehicle collision case comes to court,the presumption should be that the operator of the powered vehicle is at fault. Shift the burden of proof to E vehicle operators. Evidence that the E vehicle operator was acting reasonably could overcome the presumption; but in general this change shifts the burden squarely to people who operate these vehicles in a reckless manner. Hit someone and it’s your fault.

  70. This is long overdue! People will ultimately and unfortunately most likely suffer serious injuries or death.

    Also, every time any of us asks for delivery, tip well, these souls are living on the margins of society and deserve their ration of decency, kindness, and the ability to live well.

    The delivery companies are exploiting them, and many others, try not to take part of this enterprise, even if you tip well, for reductions in standard of living will rise to encompass all of us. Before long, we will all be gig workers.

    There is no free lunch

  71. I work in JP and see dangerous scooter, moped & bicycle behavior almost daily: licensed scooters riding down South Huntington in bike lanes, mopeds weaving in & out of traffic, bicycles going through red lights at busy intersections, mobs of mopeds and scooters going the wrong way & heading into traffic on busy Rte 9, two wheeled vehicles challenging pedestrians on foot at crosswalks, mopeds on bike paths. We all know that cars commit dangerous violations daily as well. Since the mayor has opened city up to more bikes, mopeds etc, there are way more collisions or near misses, and auto drivers are most often vilified. It is long past time that every vehicle on the road should be licensed, and should incur traffic violations. The other side of that coin is enforcement, which is sorely lacking. Clearly a lot of people want to ride bikes, moped and scooters, which is a cheaper form of travel. We have to share public space, but it is not enough to take away auto lanes on heavily used Boston streets. Everyone operating a vehicle has a role to play and should incur a fee for licensing, which could be directed to making intersections safer, beefing up enforcement, putting in cameras to catch daily infractions. It’s high time we all have responsibility for safety on our streets. License mopeds, scooters and bikes on our roads. Help us keep pedestrians and all vehicles safe.

  72. This post is a bit late but wanted to share that I don’t think we should be labeling these mopeds/motorcyles as scooters. As someone who rides electric scooters (with a max speed of 18mph), when I hear people saying scooters are dangerous I cringe because these light electric vehicles shouldn’t pose a danger when ridden at the speeds they are manufactured to go by and when the rider obeys traffic lights/rules of the road. We should call these mopeds and motorcyles or use their speed as the differentiator. I like the terminology and rules shown in this graphic by the NYPD: https://www.westsiderag.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/4E90322E-E037-4B5F-99B7-1EFE360ADBA4-e1694032427228.jpeg
    If we can clarify the rules of the road by type of vehicle and figure how to enforce we will do a lot to enable safe use of electric micro-mobility.

    Sophie

  73. One more thought – as long as delivery companies force drivers to compete against each other for fast deliveries, there will always be an incentive for drivers to endanger themselves and others on the road. Ultimately, a scooter rider is a vulnerable road user as well. I hope that the senator supports labor union legislation for these workers so that they can win a fair contract that removes these perverse incentives.

  74. I frequently have seen (and dodged) motorized vehicles on bike paths like the SW Corridor. As a bicyclist, I don’t mind sharing the bike lanes with pedestrians, other bicycles, razor scooters (foot-powered or electric), or e-bikes. But scooters with gas-powered engines are larger, heavier and louder; you’re much more likely to get hurt if you collide with one. It’s the same as having them weaving around the sidewalks, but I find it hard to blame them. Everyone knows that getting around this city can be hard, and frankly the best option remains on two wheels.

    Many of the comments in this thread are focusing on the public safety issue instead of the economic factors. Customers like cheap, fast deliveries. One of the best ways to hold costs down is by under-paying the delivery people. Tech companies are taking a cut, too, so drivers want the fastest, cheapest option (scooters). It also means they have to do more deliveries to make a living, so they’re constantly buzzing around. If we forced delivery companies to pay their drivers a living wage, then that would drive the costs of delivery up. It would reduce consumer demand for delivery, and that would increase competition among drivers, thereby pushing down the number of people trying to deliver for extra money. Fewer drivers (who are more invested in their work; i.e., the consequences of infractions would be a significant risk to a good gig) would make it easier to enforce existing regulations (i.e., trying to police the behavior of 1,000 people is harder than that of policing 200 people).

    Trying to target the delivery drivers is shifting the biggest burdens onto people who (systemically) are already facing the biggest burdens.

    So I would advocate for improving our transportation options (i.e., more bike lanes, improving the MBTA, etc.) so that it’s easier to get around the city. Let’s also pay people a living wage, and let’s put the onus back on customers to pay for the real costs of what they want. If we want safer streets and safer communities, let’s create spaces where people can earn a living wage and be invested in following the rules so we can all get around and get along more easily.

  75. The Democratic Party has fully lost its mind. This is emblematic of the socialist cadre’s leverage in the Democratic Party and the avarice of DNC leadership to think they can hold the tiger’s tail. We are mistaking degeneracy for progress.

    I don’t love the MA Hands-Free Law, we should aim for teaching our children and citizens to “govern ourselves accordingly/according to circumstance” but we voted for it yet the paternalistic state chooses what’s best for their interests, which is to ignore voters on driving with cellphones dictate a higher tax that what Massachusetts voters voted for re marijuana.

    My Democratic Party has demonstrated it cannot be trusted to preserve and protect The Constitution. The “dreamer’s” lot may bot be fair, but it’s a greater injustice for all to spit on the Constitution.

    The flag is above and apart from partisan politics. We must all adhere to the US Flag Code. It must not be lowered to half staff in cases not proscribed by the code. No matter how well intentioned it seems to lower the flag to half staff for a
    “overlooked” historic figures or to bring attention to wedge issue it amounts to ising the flag as a divisive partisan tool. Period. So when President Biden didn’t lower the flag for 33 murdered Americans on 10/7 to pander to “the squad” and so-called progressives he committed the most antisemitic act a US President ever has. Time will bring this into resolution. President Joeseph P. Biden dealt a grievous and unforgivable blow to Israel. He undermined their defense, our national security and Western security and interests. In spite of the obligatory words of solidarity with Israel, “I stand with Israel,” “Israel has a right to defend itself,” it just rings hollow as our interests are served by a mature democracy standing firm in the region of dictatorships living off the largess of mother earth. President Biden on down to Harvard and to the Superintendent of Belmont Schools chose to preserve the antidemocratic prerogative and insinuation of BDS, DEI/B socialists in the interstices of administrative life. President Biden in not lowering the flag declared jews at tainted with libel and Israel as guilty and deserving of Hamas’s attack.

    Brooks and Dionne tonight did not unpack the “ideology” of the court that underscores the opposition to left’s threat to the Constitution such that the court would with blithe aloofness use a technicality to reverse the decision that external bump stocks function as a disengaged internal sear. No functional difference.

    We Democrats must shake our heads less at the conservative right and examine our anti-democratic disfunction and overreach that they are responding to.

  76. Non-enforcement is a function of political decision-making, Some transparent, some not and some hidden behind popular notions and misapprehensions of stated aims. Audit the Legislature and free politicians from unfair historical distortions.

  77. Wow. There is a lot more to this problem than I thought. It’s not just me seeing this.

    In Belmont, I see a lot of motor scooters and mini-bikes using the bike lanes. Many of those I see do not have license plates. I also see them traveling fast down side streets.

    I was driving home from Kendall Square yesterday, heading down Broadway from the intersection of Broadway and Main Street towards the turn onto Memorial Drive. The traffic was very slow and bumper to bumper. I saw many motorcycles using the bike line! Some of these were full size motorcycles. And they were traveling at a high rate of speed.

    If the Cambridge police positioned themselves in this area, they probably could have given out thousands of dollars of fines in a short period of time.

    The overall proliferation of these 2 wheeled motor vehicles operated by reckless drivers is becoming a very serious public health hazard.

    How are we going to solve this problem?

    Someone has written “I don’t want this to be a thing where we’re hammering folks who are already experiencing a lot of life challenges.”. This is a non-issue. There is no excuse for this. And it’s not about just going after the delivery companies. It’s about personal responsibility. It is said “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”.

  78. My party has fully embodied and become the living caricature of what what once conservative hyperbole, lampooning and forewarning. We have one law of the land. Appeasement of progressive voters and notions is simply the brahmin paternalism of our time and ultimately corrosive, divisive and doomed-either that, or we all will be.

    1. Obviously, most of my fellow Dems are working in earnest and are of good character, but the zeitgeist and paradigm has co-opted and poisoned even their good works to serve a future that will be less free and equal.

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