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Baltimore officers to amend the proposal that called for 30 days in jail for riding electronic scooters too fast



The Baltimore Transportation Department said Monday it would amend the law that would expose people who ride a rental scooter too fast or on some city sidewalks to a month in prison and a $ 1,000 fine

German Vigil, a spokesman for the department, said officials' intention is for riders to make $ 20 citations if they violate a set of proposed rules.

He said they had never expected a scooter rider to make jail time. Vigil said the department would offer an amendment to the proposal "to eliminate any possibility that criminal penalties could apply to a rider."

The criminal sanctions are included in the law, the Transport Department asked the City Council to consider regulating the companies that provide dockless rental bikes and scooters, which appeared last year on Baltimore's streets, and impose rules of the road on riders

Bird and Lime operate the scooters under a pilot program with the city and Lime has a fleet of rental bikes, too. There were as many as 1

,400 of the scooters in Baltimore as of October, and in the first few months, users had taken some quarter of a million rides.

The companies have generally taken the approach of offering vehicles in the U.S. cities and waiting for the authorities to catch up.

Transportation Director Michelle Pourciau briefed council members Monday on the law at their working lunch

"We've been working diligently , "Pourciau said.

But advocates for alternatives to using cars to get around said they are concerned that the proposal puts too many limitations on the use of scooters and bikes and focuses on penalizing riders instead of creating infrastructure such

Councilman Ryan Dorsey said he was passed by a scooter user and a cyclist on the walkway while he spoke by phone about the proposal

"They're not hurting anybody , and to relegate people to operate in an unsafe environment is immoral, "Dorsey said. "We would be committed to creating a safe environment."

The legislation would put the cost of regulating scooters on companies that operate them, in the form of fees, and would impose a 10-cent per ride tax. It would also give traffic enforcement officers the power to seize scooters that have been improperly parked

Riders, meanwhile, would have been at least 16 years old and riding in the street on roads that have a speed limit of 30 mph or less . Scooters and e-bikes would be subject to a 15-mph speed limit.

On roads with higher speed limits, riders would be allowed on the sidewalk but would face a 6-mph speed limit. said the violation of any of its provisions or rules subsequently imposed by the transport department would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in prison, and a $ 1,000 fine

The scooters have quickly gained a sense of ubiquity in Baltimore, but the proposed law would allow far more of them on city streets. Currently, operators are capped at 1,000 each. iduntcan@baltsun.com

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