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NC Lawmaker To Introduce Statewide Scooter Legislation

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks
FILE: People rode scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.

Statewide regulations may be coming for scooter rentals in Charlotte and other North Carolina cities. The House transportation committee chairman, Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County, told NC Insider Thursday he plans to introduce a bill that would address how the scooters should be defined under the state's traffic laws. 

According to legal experts, the scooters right now qualify as vehicles and should be subject to all the same rules as cars and trucks, including license plates and motor vehicle registration fees.   

Torbett said North Carolina should use the same scooter definition used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA doesn’t consider scooters to be "motor vehicles" if they don't exceed speeds of 20 miles per hour and the rider is standing up. That would mean the scooters would essentially be treated similarly to bicycles. Torbett said he would "leave it up to the cities" to establish more detailed regulations, such as where scooters can be parked

Charlotte city staff has recommended not enacting local scooter regulations in anticipation that lawmakers will adopt statewide rules. Some city council members have advocated for more regulations after reports of accidents and unsafe use of the scooters.