Earlier this year, the City of Baltimore approved four companies to operate scooter shares in the city: Lime, Jump, Spin, and Bolt. According to a news report at the time, the city selected these four companies out of the seven companies that applied for permits. Scooter shares are growing in popularity in Maryland and across the United States, especially in urban settings. Currently, scooter shares are located in well over 100 cities across the country. However, some are concerned that the presence of a scooter-share will drastically increase the number of Maryland scooter accidents.
A scooter share is a service that provides users the ability to rent an electric scooter on a short-term basis. While the concept is somewhat similar to bike shares in that users can pick up and drop off the scooters at whatever location is convenient for them, scooter shares are unique in that they are dockless. This means that they can be left anywhere, and users can open up the company’s app to locate the nearest scooter. The companies pay individuals to locate and charge scooters at their homes or businesses, keeping overhead costs low.
By allowing four scooter-share companies to operate, Baltimore seemingly embraces the scooter-share concept. To be sure, electric scooters provide a convenient way for many commuters and tourists to get around. They also do little to contribute to traffic and pollution, and are seen by many as an excellent supplement to public transit for those not within walking distance of a bus stop or train station. However, scooter shares also present some valid concerns.