clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Electric scooters’ fate in Massachusetts may hinge on Cambridge effort

City wants state to adjust and clarify regulations on the vehicles

E-scooters in a row. Photo courtesy of Bird

In the middle of the summer, electric-scooter concern Bird tried to scooch into Cambridge with the planting of several of its app-unlocked rental vehicles around the city.

Cambridge officials quickly put a stop to the (legal) use of Bird scooters—and to electric scooters in general—saying that it needed time to develop the proper procedures for handling such mechanisms amid its dense grid.

It turns out, though, that it probably doesn’t matter what Cambridge officials come up with in regard to electric scooters. That is because the vehicles are illegal under state law.

That law requires that powered scooters include brake lights and turn signals—which most of the newer app-unlocked rentals do not have. Some have brake lights, or the capabilities for brake lights, but blinkers is another matter entirely.

The state regulations date from the rise of the moped decades ago, per the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro.

For now, it looks like Cambridge is taking a two-pronged approach: Working through its delegation to Beacon Hill to change the state law and then coordinating with surrounding municipalities in regulating the scooters. Stay tuned.