In just one year they’ve become almost as much a part of the landscape in Ocean City as the scooters that preceded them, but whether scoot coupes remain so will ultimately be up to the Town Council.
A loophole in an amended state law cleared the way for the three-wheeled coupes to use the bus lanes, but the council will have the final say.
At the heart of the issue really is about the engine size. In order to not be classified as motorcycles, sticking to the exact but sometimes flexible wording or the regulation, limits the scoot coupes’ engines must be no larger than 50cc. This will limit the maximum speed of the coupes to 35 m.p.h.
But an investigation of the units actually on the roads has uncovered some coupes with triple the engine output.
According to the town, none of the scoot coupes have been involved in accidents.
The rental of these vehicles has proven popular within the resort. More than one business is actively renting them and a tangle of regulations and contracts entangle them. Engine size, number of wheels, passengers, carrying capacity all factor in when trying to regulate businesses.
New products and services, such as the scoot coupes with their smaller engine size and three wheels, confound these regulations and force officials to reexamine laws. This recalls the situation with Segways a few years back.
The town has plans to meet with Police Chief Bernadette DiPino in an upcoming work session and has been asked to make an evaluation of the coupes part of her presentation.
The council will have to make a determination on the future of these devices and the businesses who rent them. Moreover, the tangle of regulations and compliance with them will need to be examined if this business is to continue.