Tag Archives: e-scooters

Michigan City Enacts Micro-mobility Regulations

E-scooters and e-bikes will be able to operate on bike paths and sidewalks just like regular bicycles while respecting pedestrians just as regular bikes must in Ann Arbor, Mich., whose City Council gave unanimous preliminary approval to a personal mobility vehicle ordinance last week.

The growth of micro-mobility in the city led to preliminary adoption of the ordinance, which also gives riders the same rights on roads as motorists and lets them park in spaces designated for bikes and cars. It also spells out what riders are responsible for, including safety and personal responsibility around pedestrians.

The regulations are scheduled for a final vote Sept. 20.


Los Angeles Delays Micro-mobility Regulations Designed to Boost Equity

Shared electric scooter against a city wall.The transportation committee of the Los Angeles City Council approved strict new rules governing micro-mobility distribution and use through the city but delayed roll-out until the end of the year. Companies providing shared scooters and bikes praised the delay, saying the new regulations are too expensive and difficult to comply with, and they hoped an extra few months will present time for everyone to find a middle ground.

The regulations are partially designed to get more shared, human-powered vehicles into low-income neighborhoods while preventing their abandonment on sidewalks and in yards elsewhere. The proposed rules, suppliers say, pose fines and punishments that are too harsh; for its part, the city says an incentive-based program was largely ignored by the companies.

Part of the new regulations includes a per-ride permit fee, set at nothing in low-income areas and up to $.40 per ride in more popular destinations. It also requires companies to retrofit vehicles to be locked to bike racks within six months–a move the companies say would cost them millions of dollars.

Both sides say conversation will continue to iron out details before the regulations go into effect Dec. 31. Read the whole story here.

U.K. Legalizes Shared E-scooters on Roads After COVID-19 Lockdowns

Young woman on an electric scooterCommuters in England, Scotland, and Wales will soon have a new way to get around: As of July 4, shared e-scooters are legal on their roads.

Trips on pubic transportation are down 90 percent since COVID-19 lockdowns began several months ago, and the scooters’ introduction are intended to help people get around while social distancing, without having to own their own cars. Cycling as a mode of transportation has already skyrocketed in the area; walking has als3o jumped in popularity among those who used to use buses or the Tube.

To be permitted on public roads, the e-scooters must be part of shared fleets–privately owned models are still not allowed. Read the whole story here.

New York Legalizes E-bikes, Scooters, in Response to COVID-19

Black e-bike with orange wheel rimsNew York City, long a holdout against e-bikes and e-scooters, this week legalized the mobility devices in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Delivery workers using the motorized devices have, until now, faced fines and having their rides confiscated, but lawmakers said e-bikes and scooters will help those people keep working at a time when they’re needed.

Helmets are required for e-scooter riders and anyone using a class-3 e-bike, which can go up to 25 miles per hour. New York Police will no longer enforce any rules prohibiting the vehicles, and local jurisdictions were given leeway to craft their own supplemental policies about their use. Read the whole story here.

My E-scooter Rental Experiment

By Scott C. Bauman, CAPP

Last fall, I took my family into Denver for a special excursion–to rent electric scooters for the very first time and explore our vibrant downtown. The experience was quite informative. We rode all around the central business district, stopped for some famous local ice cream, spent time watching kayakers, and experienced the shared-mobility e-scooter craze to its fullest.

This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment family adventure. It was a strategic, work-related field trip to gather facts. I intended to road-test and witness firsthand the various interactions, challenges, and benefits of shared mobility e-scooters. With the word “mobility” in my work title, I needed to experience this emerging mode personally.

We deliberately rode on different roadways: sidewalks, exposed bike lanes, protected bike lanes, trails, open streets, shared sharrow streets, and a pedestrian-only mall that prohibits e-scooters (to see what would happen; nothing happened). I wanted to witness and feel for myself how they operated, how the smartphone app interacted with users, and of course, my direct interactions with motor vehicles, parked vehicles, pedestrians, sidewalk obstacles, and other modes of transportation.

My field experience yielded a wealth of valuable information–so much so that I can say without hesitation that I strongly recommend every parking, mobility, and transportation professional considering these types of shared operations should do exactly what I did and gather the field facts firsthand. Relying solely on news articles and press reports does not give you the comprehensive picture needed to make informed decisions. The hands-on information gathered allowed me to intelligently update my city’s shared mobility policies with factual experience. It also allowed me to educate and articulate my experiences to executive staff and council members. That insight was priceless!

If you are considering shared e-scooter operations and have not already rented a scooter for yourself, I encourage and challenge you to do a similar field experiment. The real-world experiences and takeaways (positive and negative) will absolutely shape and broaden your knowledge, and you’ll probably have a bit of fun getting them.

Scott C. Bauman, CAPP, is manager of parking and mobility services for the City of Aurora, Colo.

Bringing E-scooters Into Your Operation: Do You Need Insurance?

e-scooter accident insurance liability micro-mobilityIn cities and on campuses around the world, e-scooters seemed to have revolutionized short-distance personal transportation. Some days, it feels like they’re everywhere. And headlines trumpet the potential dangers for riders, pedestrians, and drivers as the micro-mobility vehicles grow in popularity. It all brings up an interesting question: If someone rents an e-scooter and has an accident, who’s liable? And do you need insurance for e-scooters if your operation offers them?

As with many things, it’s not a simple question. Part of it boils down to the regulations in each state, and part of it depends on who owns the scooter, who’s using the scooter, and whose fault an accident is. Insurance Business America takes a look at the liability of e-scooters and what users, owners, and contracted organizations need to know about insurance when the two-wheelers hit the streets.

“There’s still a lot of confusion around which insurance policies will pick up an E-scooter liability claim. If a rider has personal /private health insurance, they will likely get some coverage in the case of an accident. But if an E-scooter rider causes an injury to a pedestrian, damages a person’s property, or causes a road accident, coverage is much less clear–and often non-existent,” the article explains. Read the rest of it here.

A Different Fee Structure for E-scooters to Solve Curb Clutter

By Nathan Donnell

We live and die by supply and demand in the parking and mobility industry. We are challenged by the public, stakeholders, and business owners to have enough parking  while keeping the price at a reasonable level so as to not deter people from using the curb space. Obviously, I just defined supply and demand! I apologize for the elementary schooling but I have a method to my madness.

I spent a few days in three of the top 15 cities in the United States recently and because I’m a mobility geek, I couldn’t help but focus on the overall curb management in each city. The one thing all three cities had in common was that the supply and demand theory of micro-mobility vendors was way off. In one city, there were seven e-scooter vendors, each fighting for space on the curb. There wasn’t a street I walked down where I couldn’t find an e-scooter to ride. In fact, there was on an average of 20 scooters on each side of the street throughout each city, waiting for potential riders.

Cities and campuses have more control over micro-mobility vendors [vs. ride sharing as an example] by licensing each e-scooter and charging fees per ride; they also have access to data that should help make better policy decisions. Unfortunately, the supply outweighed the demand in all three cities to the point of cluttering the walkways and making it difficult to navigate without tripping hazards.

Why not charge each vendor a fee per scooter for the time it’s taking up curb space instead of a flat fee or per-ride fee? This may cause scooter vendors to be more selective in the number of scooters they drop off in hopes of getting more customers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for first- and last-mile mobility solutions. But we must find the sweet spot of supply and demand or all we’ve done is create another problem in our cities and on our campuses.

Nathan Donnell is director, western U.S. and Canada sales, curbside management solutions with Conduent.

Are E-scooters Here to Stay?

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

Mobility Lab has referred to 2018 as the Year of the Curb. One big reason for this was the rapid and broad emergence of dockless e-scooters. In the January 8 issue of Mobility Lab Express, Director Paul Mackie reflects on everything we know about scooters to predict their staying power—and highlights important questions for future research.

“The exploding popularity of scooters is reason enough to research them. Dockless bike-share systems barely started to be viewed as legitimate transit options in the public’s perception when, all of a sudden, scooters arrived and, in many cities, completely replaced dockless bikes almost overnight,” he writes.

“It’s difficult to predict whether scooters are here to stay. But not for lack of trying by transportation journalists. Scooters are still so new that the lack of research on their popularity makes their staying power a guessing game. As far back as July, Populus released a report finding that most people like dockless e-scooters—including women, who have a slightly more positive perception of them than men. But, besides that report, there’s little academic research on why scooters have taken cities across the country by storm.”

The article goes on to review the early success of Arlington, Va.’s scooter pilot program and explores other topic areas such as:

  • How many options are too many options?
  • Are shared scooters priced for optimal success?
  • Long-held perceptions need to change.
  • Transit will be the big winner if cities do scooters right.

Read the full story here.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president of Kimley-Horn.

Pedal-powered Shared Bikes: Extinct Already?

That might have been fast: About a year after dockless bike-share started making headlines, many cities and suppliers are moving away from them, shifting their fleets to dockless e-bikes or scooters instead.

Dockless pedal bikes have all but been replaced in Washington, D.C.; Seattle; Chicago; and Dallas; and Boston ditched theirs before they even hit the streets, deciding to go with e-scooters instead. Dockless bike companies say it’s a simple case of supply and demand, especially in cities that cap the number of shared bikes that can be on the streets. Customers simply prefer getting a battery-assisted boost.

Read the whole story here and let us know in the blog comments–what’s happening near you?

E-scooter Speed Limits on the Horizon?

E-scooters pose an issue in many cities but perhaps none like New York, where they’re too slow for the street and too fast for pedestrian-packed sidewalks. The city is contemplating how to legalize the popular, often shared machines and there’s a new call for a scooter speed limit downtown.

While nothing official has come from the Department of Transportation, there are rumblings–and an all-out call from one attorney who frequently represents injured cyclists–to impose a 15 mph speed limit on e-scooters. The lawyer wants to go so far as to install speed governors on the machines to force them to keep it slow.

Read the whole story here.