State Representative Eddie Rodriguez filed a bill directing the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, in consultation with the Texas Department of Transportation, to conduct a study on the use of motor-assisted scooters.
Under HB 2715, the study must examine:
- The legal definition and existing local regulation of motor-assisted scooters;
- The liability issues related to motor-assisted scooter use and accidents;
- The operation of motor-assisted scooters, including:
- safety standards;
- interaction with pedestrians;
- shared infrastructure; and,
- operator qualifications;
- The economic impact of motor-assisted scooters, including any burdens on or benefits to local governments;
- Accessibility of motor-assisted scooters;
- Motor-assisted scooters’ impact on public transportation;
- The social norms of motor-assisted scooter use, including motor-assisted scooter etiquette; and,
- How motor-assisted scooters have been and may be integrated into the overall transportation system.
Rep. Rodriguez represents East Austin’s and Southeast Travis County’s District 51 in the Texas House of Representatives. He serves on the House Committees on Calendars, State Affairs and Ways & Means in the 86th Legislative Session.
Rep. Rodriguez issued the following statement regarding HB 2715:
“The deployment of motor-assisted scooters for rental in Texas cities has the potential to reduce congestion and pollution by solving the ‘last mile’ problem and filling a vital role in the multimodal transportation systems of the future.
“This technology and the businesses pushing its adoption, however, are new to our communities. The abrupt, and, in some cases premature, deployment of scooters has revealed thorny issues that suggest the need for regulation. But without rigorous, objective data, it is unclear what combination of policies would best serve Texans and their local governments without stifling innovation.
“HB 2715 would direct the state government’s subject matter experts to explore questions raised by the deployment of motor-assisted scooters in Texas and inform future efforts to regulate this fledgling industry.”
There’s already one study about scooter-related injuries going on, but nothing I am currently aware of about the other points Rep. Rodriguez raises. It’s been my assumption since the various venture capital-funded firms started scattering scooters around some cities that there will be action to legalize and regulate them at a state level, much as happened with the ridesharing companies. If this bill can allow us to have some objective data about scooters and their effects before we dive into that process, that would be nice.