OCEAN CITY – Due to high speed and the potential of adding further chaos to the Boardwalk, the Ocean City Police Commission this week did not favor allowing the rental of Trikkes to operate on the Boardwalk.
On Monday morning a presentation of Trikkes by Bryant Hungerford was scheduled for the Police Commission. Hungerford was interested in renting out the electric version of the vehicle to be operated on the Boardwalk and in order to do so wanted to change a city ordinance.
A Trikke is a brand of a three-wheel, or three-point, standing, carving vehicle that resembles a scooter, and can be body powered by a swerving action or electronically powered.
Despite Hungerford rescheduling his presentation for March 10, the Police Commission looked into Ocean City’s current code regarding the electric version of the vehicle being operated on the Boardwalk.
Ocean Police Department (OCPD) Lt. Scott Harner explained the vehicle is defined by the Maryland Transportation Article as a “Motorized minibike”, which means a motor vehicle that has two or three wheels, and is not subject to registration under Title 13 of the article. A Motorized minibike does not include a motor scooter, a moped or a farm tractor.
Ocean City’s Code states, “the operation of bicycles, pushcarts and Electronic personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD) on the boardwalk is only permitted from Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, between 2 a.m. and 11 a.m. of the same day, from Tuesday after Labor Day through Friday before Memorial Day at any time, except for the times of Springfest and Sunfest.”
An EPAMD, also known as a Segway, is defined as a device that has two non-tandem wheels, is self-balancing, is powered by an electric propulsion system, has a maximum speed capability of 15 mph and is designed to transport one person.
The code furthers, “it shall be unlawful for any nongovernmental motor vehicle, motor-assisted vehicle, bicycle, pushcart, or EPAMDs to be operated on the boardwalk at any time without permission of the Mayor and City Council or its designated agent except during the time set forth in the code.”
Harner expanded on that part of the code, saying, “The motorized version of the Trikke is prohibited … on the boardwalk at any time, so I don’t think it is possible for Mr. Hungerford to proceed renting them on the Boardwalk as it is currently prohibited.”
One could argue there is no difference between a Segway and an electric Trikke, Harner said, however an EPAMD is defined under state law as a pedestrian device and a motorized minibike is defined as a motor vehicle.
The version Hungerford is proposing to have operate on the Boardwalk has a maximum speed of 16 mph. OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro pointed out traveling the length of the Boardwalk at max speed would take about 8 minutes.
“I just don’t think it is going to work on the Boardwalk,” Commission Chair Councilman Doug Cymek said in regards to both the motorized and non-motorized versions of the Trikke.
City Solicitor Guy Ayres pointed out the non-motorized version of the Trikke would currently be permitted on the Boardwalk under City Code, which can swerve up to 6-8 feet wide.
“To me, that poses more of a problem than the motorized version,” Ayres said
Councilman Dennis Dare made a motion to forward a non-favorable recommendation of allowing the motorized version of a Trikke to operate on the Boardwalk.
“I am personally not in favor of adding anymore chaos to the Boardwalk,” Dare said.
Before passing forward the commission’s non-favorable consensus, Council President Lloyd Martin felt it was only fair to allow Hungerford to make his presentation first.
“We will let the gentlemen speak but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of enthusiasm here,” Cymek said.
The commission asked Harner to return with further recommendations in how to modernize the code to address the non-motorized Trikke, as well as what the maximum mph should be allowed on the Boardwalk considering the speed of the Boardwalk Tram compared to other vehicles allowed on the boardwalk.
When it was announced the Police Commission would be presented the concept of Trikkes, Council Secretary Mary Knight asked for the commission to review the code in regard to the popular Christmas toy this year, a Razor Crazy Cart, which is a drifting version of a go cart. Harner confirmed the Crazy Cart is also prohibited from the Boardwalk.