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E-scooters in Boston move toward reality with mayor’s proposal

Marty Walsh sees pilots of the vehicles in the city’s near future

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Mayor Marty Walsh has filed an ordinance that would pave the way for electric battery-powered scooters in Boston.

Specifically, the proposal—which needs City Council approval—would establish minimum safety standards for so-called shared mobility businesses, which include e-scooter companies such as Bird and Lime, and would license them to do business in the city.

The proposal would also allow officials to pilot e-scooters in Boston before any general rollout. As it stands now, the vehicles are simply illegal under state law, whatever their growing popularity nationwide. Walsh’s ordinance is meant to complement pending state legislation in favor of e-scooters.

”Our streets and sidewalks are public resources, and we want to ensure that mobility options in our city are safe, reliable, and equitable,” Walsh said in a January 28 statement. “We’re committed to creating a strong transportation network by investing in both short- and long-term projects that will create greater transportation access for all users of our city’s streets. This ordinance will help create a stronger, safer transportation network across Boston.”

Walsh’s ordinance is also a move toward establishing regulations for any future e-scooters in Boston—where they can run, where they can and cannot be left or picked-up, etc.

It will be at least 90 days from passage of the ordinance for it to go into effect. And then it’s a matter of getting pilots up and scooting. Stay tuned.