The latest effort to curb rental mopeds in the town of Oak Bluffs has seen a setback after a home rule petition died on Beacon Hill in December.

And while Cape and Islands state Rep. Dylan Fernandes refiled the petition at the start of the 2019 legislative session, he said he would be surprised if it made it out of committee in time for the 2019 summer season.

“Home-rule petitions have a two-year lifetime,” Mr. Fernandes said, speaking to the Gazette by phone this week. “So we filed it again about three weeks ago, but essentially, when you think about a legislative process, it takes several sessions for a bill to pass that has far-reaching implications like this.”

The petition would give the town the authority to ban the lease or rental of mopeds or motor scooters within the town, as well as prohibit the issuance of licenses for businesses to rent the vehicles to the public.

Massachusetts state law defines mopeds as either pedal bicycles with a helper motor or a non-pedal bicycle with a motor, which has an automatic transmission, a cylinder capacity of no more than 50 cubic centimeters, and a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. It defines motor scooters as any two or three-wheeled tandem device that has handlebars, is designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, and powered by an electric or gas-powered motor capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion.

It’s been a long road for proponents of the rental moped ban. While grassroots efforts to limit the presence of the vehicles on the Island have existed for years, the recent home-rule petition was spurred following a 2016 accident in Oak Bluffs that left a driver critically injured. A citizen-led group filed a complaint arguing that the three moped rental businesses in the town violated town bylaws. The matter ended up in court, with a superior court judge ruling that selectmen could not deny licenses because mopeds have the right to use state roads.

Now Oak Bluffs is looking for a special town allowance that would give selectmen permission to ban the vehicles through a home-rule petition drafted by town counsel Ron Rappaport. State statutes prevent the town from unilaterally banning mopeds without home rule.

A town warrant article asking voters to advance the home-rule petition passed overwhelmingly last spring. An Islandwide Gazette survey in early 2017 found that out of 2,400 respondents, 90 per cent would support eliminating moped rentals if it were legally possible to do so.

Representative Fernandes, a Democrat from Falmouth who was elected to a second term in November, said the bill languished in third readings partly because of its far-reaching implications.

“When you think about it, this bill would create a state precedent that would empower towns to ban certain types of transportation,” he said. “So as you can imagine that’s a pretty big deal. This is the kind of thing that will have a considerable amount of deliberation before it moves and can pass.”

He also said because the December petition was filed late in the session it didn’t have much of a chance on the house floor. He said that was not true of the new petition.

“This time around, because we filed at the beginning of the session it will get a full hearing,” he said.

He said it is likely that there will be a public hearing in Boston sometime in late spring or early summer.

A ban on rentals would not affect independent moped owners and operators. Oak Bluffs is home to three of the four moped rental businesses on the Island.

“A lot of people aren’t necessarily upset with mopeds, they are upset with the lack of information that the people renting mopeds get, and how they can be more responsible operators,” Mr. Fernandes said.