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Baltimore City introduces bill to criminalize scooter offenses

Posted at 11:25 PM, Jan 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 15:25:30-05

Motorized scooters are zipping all over the city— and a proposal about some penalties for riding them incorrectly is causing a lot of buzz.

Monday night, Baltimore City Department of Transportation had City Council introduce a bill that would make going over the speed limit or driving on sidewalks an offense that could cost you hundreds of dollars and even land you in jail.

Hakin Kim is one of the many people who enjoy using the scooters to get around

“They are fun on a bun,” said Kim. “To be honest man they are fun on a bun I like them.”

But the people that don’t use the scooters see them as a dangerous nuisance.

DOT asked City Council to introduce a bill that could fine people up to $1,000 with 30 days in jail for riding down a sidewalk in some areas or going over the allotted 15 miles an hour.

“I think it seems kind of frivolous,” said Kim. “Seems like time and resources could be spent elsewhere, but also making sure people are riding safely is an important thing.”

And Council President Jack Young agrees. He believes there should be regulations, but the bill needs to be tweaked before he will consider it.

“I don’t want to criminalize any more citizens in Baltimore,” Young said. “We have all kinds of laws that criminalize people. We don’t want to keep doing that because people need to find jobs and they have these little things on their record they can’t get employed so I’m against criminalizing anybody.”

The big question is who would enforce these laws in a city dealing with it's fair share of other crimes.

“Maybe our traffic enforcement officers they write tickets now maybe they will be the ones that do that,” Young said. “Maybe we can have police assist when they see it. Right now, we haven’t figured it out yet. That’s something we will have to figure out who’s really going to do the enforcement of this.”

The bill was passed on to the land use and transportation committee.

WMAR-2 News reached out to the Department of Transportation on Tuesday who said the fine and jail time was not actually meant for the riders, but for the scooter companies.

The dockless vehicles program was introduced in August and lasts until February 28.