Maryland scooter laws put the squeeze on rentals

Publish Date: 
Nov 2, 2012

OCEAN CITY, Md. – New state laws that took effect Oct. 1 are putting pressure on scooter rental businesses due to insurance requirements.

The Maryland General Assembly passed a law in the spring requiring scooter and moped riders and passengers to wear helmets and eye protection. Scooters and mopeds must also display a title sticker to prove the origin and ownership, which can be acquired through the Motor Vehicle Administration. Scooters and mopeds must also carry the same  level of insurance coverage as motorcycles.

“Basically, the insurance requirement for scooters is very simple,” Ocean City Police Department public information officer Mike Levy told Ocean City Today. “They have to meet the minimum for a motorcycle.”

That’s not too much for individual owners, but it could deal a blow to scooter rental operations in the resort town. “It’s been a bit of an adventure even finding [insurance],” said Ron Croker, owner of Waterways Marina. “There are just a limited number of companies that will underwrite in Maryland on this scale.”

With a fleet of 50 scooters, his most recent quote of $700 per scooter per year is discouraging. He has the off season to decide what to do.

“The intention was not to cut into [renters’] profit; the intention was to make these things accountable,” Levy said. “Scooters are a really inexpensive piece of equipment. They themselves are not the issue; the medical coverage is really the issue. We have so many single-vehicle wrecks here. Who pays for that?”

Posted by Holly Wagner