Does Brookline Need Dedicated Lanes For Rental Scooters?

bird scooter

(Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio)

BROOKLINE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Brookline's scooter rental program hasn't exactly gone smoothly since its inception four months ago. Now, officials are raising the question of whether the town needs to make dedicated scooter lanes.

Brookline Selectman Heather Hamilton suggested the idea on NightSide with Dan Rea Tuesday.

"We need separated, micromobility lanes," Hamilton said. "Until I see an infrastructure that really gets community buy-in like that, I think we're going to struggle with continued sidewalk use."

Hamilton was an initial supporter of the program, but now is frustrated over riders not sticking to the guidelines of scooter use.

Scooters are supposed to stay in marked bike and travel lanes. Users need to have a valid driver's license or permit, be at least 18, wear a helmet, and stay out of the way of pedestrians and sidewalks.

"We have limited resources, so, [we're] trying to make sure that everybody is biding by the rules and that everybody understands what the expectations are when it comes to parking and where to use these devices," Hamilton said.

The pilot program had a rocky start. At the launch event, a woman had to be taken from the scene by an ambulance after falling off one of the scooters.

Residents have also complained about improper use. Just two weeks in, police said there were already 21 reported scooter incidents including close calls with pedestrians, underage riding, riding without a helmet, and improper parking.

One Brookline resident said her biggest complaint is seeing people on scooters weaving in and out of traffic.

"I just witness other drivers and pedestrians dealing with that," she told WBZ NewsRadio's Jim MacKay. "I think I'm just concerned about peoples' safety."

The long-term goal of the program is to ease traffic congestion.

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WBZ NewsRadio's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports

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