DC board approves new electric scooter legislation
The Washington, D.C., city council on Tuesday finally passed legislation to further regulate electric scooter services in the nation's capital.
The legislation, passed unanimously, sets new rules for the use of scooters in cities, mainly requiring companies operating services to provide a way to lock equipment onto racks or poles.
The regulation allows the operation of electric scooters and bicycles to grow over the next few years to as many as 20,000 devices by October 1, 2023.Today, seven companies are allowed to operate no more than 7,000 pedal motorcycles in total;About 4,000 e-bikes are allowed.
The code also sets benchmarks to ensure the device can be used in all parts of the city and requires more signs to warn users about riding scooters on sidewalks.
The law makes it illegal to drive electric scooters under the influence and imposes fines for many offenses.For example, the maximum fine for operating a scooter or e-bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs is $150;Anyone found tampering with the device could face a $125 fine.
According to the regulations, users must be 16 or older, and if they are under 18, they should wear a helmet, park their equipment legally, abide by restrictions on carrying packages while riding, ride only in designated areas, and do not ride with passengers.
Other provisions of the Act:
● Require DDOT to place signs or road markings inside central business districts to warn skateboarder riders not to ride on sidewalks.
● Companies must deploy at least 3 percent of their fleet to each of the school district's eight districts between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
● Companies are prohibited from placing pedal-free motorcycles within 300 feet of a primary or secondary school or senior health center.The rules will also apply to no-dock e-bikes.The area adjacent to the metro station entrance is exempt.
● Service operators must maintain a 24-hour toll-free number for the public to report illegally parked scooters and lodge other complaints.
● Operators are required to provide optional free lessons on safe riding.
● The speed limit for e-bikes is set at 20 MPH.
● Require operators to release fleet, trip, and complaint data to DDOT.
Some of the proposed rules reflect the DDOT rules that came into effect last year.The city sets fees for operators and caps the number of units each company is allowed to deploy.
Bird, Bolt, Lime, Lyft, Razor, Skip and Spin operate scooters in the city.Lime's Helbiz and Jump businesses sell e-bikes.
Council member Brooke Pinto said at a council meeting last month: "This is a transportation industry, and like any other form of transportation, regulations are needed to ensure safety and mutual responsibility among all of us."