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Electric Scooter Companies

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Electric Scooter Companies

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Electric Scooter Companies

  1. 1. Electric Scooter Companies Joanna Faust Assistant County Attorney Fairfax County Office of the County Attorney Board Transportation Committee December 11, 2018 Chris Wells Bicycle & Pedestrian Programs Fairfax County Department of Transportation
  2. 2. Introduction • Electric scooter companies are currently operating in Arlington, Alexandria and the District of Columbia. • Electric scooters are an increasingly popular mobility alternative to walking. They have been implemented throughout the US and will likely expand more significantly in the County. • Electric scooter companies would need a BPOL license to operate in the County (if gross annual receipts are greater than $10,000). 2
  3. 3. Positives of Electric Scooters • Perceived ease of use and access. • Responsive to skyrocketing consumer demand. • Current adult generation were toy scooter-using kids. • Fun and social alternative to walking distance trips. • Encourage use by different demographic groups and underserved areas and communities. • Lyft and Uber are aggressively entering shared transportation mobility businesses, which could positively affect the electric scooter business model. 3
  4. 4. Negatives of Electric Scooters • Most scooters are not currently manufactured to commercial grade durability and safety standards. • Not following manufacturer recommendations on scooter storage, exposure to rain and extremes, could compromise the scooter’s brakes and throttle. • Not providing safety information such as: wear a helmet, avoid contacting obstacles with tire, be aware of distance needed to stop. • User assumes all responsibility. When user rents scooter user agrees to the app's terms of service. • Can lead to sidewalk obstruction (and ADA impediment). • Issues with vandalism and abandonment. • Lack of vendor transparency. • Technological restraints of geofencing (trespassing). • Need for significant management by jurisdictions. 4
  5. 5. Virginia Law on Scooters • A motorized foot-scooter is every vehicle, regardless of the number of wheels, that has no seat, is designed to be stood upon by the operator, has no manufacture-issued vehicle identification number, and is powered by an electric motor no more than 1,000 watts or a gasoline engine less than 36 cc. Va. Code § 46.2-100. • Scooters may be operated on any highway with a maximum speed limit of 25 miles per hour or less. Va. Code § 46.2-908.1. • The General Assembly has granted localities explicit power to regulate scooters in only some areas: • to regulate by ordinance the noise. Va. Code § 15.2-919. • to prohibit the use of scooters on designated sidewalks. Va. Code § 46.2-904 • to regulate the use of helmets on 14 years of age or younger on electric personal assistive mobility devices (but not scooters). Va. Code § 46.2-906.1. • Abandoned motor vehicle is either left unattended on public property for more than 48 hours in violation of a state law or local ordinance, or has remained for more than 48 hours on private property without the consent of the property's owner, or is left unattended on the shoulder of a primary highway. Va. Code § 46.2-1200. 5
  6. 6. Fairfax County and Electric Scooter Companies 6 • Would need a BPOL license to operate in Fairfax County (if gross annual receipts are greater than $10,000). • Unlike Arlington/Alexandria/DC, which own their own roads, in Fairfax County, the use of the roads is regulated and supervised by the state, which currently allows operation of scooters. • Therefore, Fairfax County is in a different position than Arlington/Alexandria/DC, all of which have entered into Pilot Programs/MOUs with the electric scooter companies based on the localities’ ability to regulate their roads. • In addition, any Pilot / MOU between electric scooter companies and Fairfax County would be perceived as our endorsement of the safety and appropriateness of their use in the County, while other US cities with scooters are beginning to see a public health issue and are collecting data on significant injuries, severe trauma and deaths as reported by hospitals.
  7. 7. Staff Recommendations • Electric scooters are probably inevitable and will be appropriate in the County in the future when the combination of infrastructure, regulation, consumer acceptance and public safety can be achieved. • Monitor legislative proposals during the 2019 GA session. • Consider requesting future legislative action or policy statement by the Commonwealth. • Direct County involvement in scooters, via an MOU, will require additional funding for County agencies such as Police Department, Department of Cable and Consumer Services, Department of Code Compliance, Department of Transportation, and others, for any enforcement, impoundment, regulation, monitoring and public safety education determined by the Board to be needed. 7
  8. 8. 8 Discussion