Journalist of Luz Lazo Transportation covering the Washington Metro, buses, the capital, Bikeshare, taxis and the road network of the region. On November 10th at 5:29 pm, electric scooters almost overnight became ubiquitous in the streets and sidewalks of American cities. From teens to tourists to commuters, this latest transportation trend has sparked enthusiasm – and fear from some quarters – with confusion over rules of use, whether of motorized vehicles or places of driving. And they do not seem to leave soon. "The more scooters you ride, the more people use them," said Dave Estrada, Bird's government relations and policy officer, who launched a social experiment with a few scooters on the streets of Santa Monica, California. and has since expanded to more than 75 markets in seven countries. Love them or hate them, scooters seem to be here to stay, so let's try to answer some of the most common questions we've received about them. They are everywhere, but how did we get here?
A rental scooter in Washington. (Matt McClain / The Washington Post) Companies such as Bird, Skip and Lime were among the first to install scooters on the streets of the United States. They followed the frenzy of the dockless shared bike movement that took off in the United States in 2017, with colorful bikes that can be rented through an app and dropped off at the end of a trip. Many of these services left after being victims of vandalism, theft and municipal regulation. Some companies that started with bikes have added scooters to their fleets. The electronic scooters first appeared last spring in California cities and have grown rapidly. Less than a year later, thousands are available for rent in locations ranging from Portland to New York. Where can I find them? Bird and Lime, the two largest suppliers, each hold more than 75 markets in several countries. They cover major US markets including San Diego, Denver, Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Minneapolis, New York, Baltimore and Washington. Skip, a much smaller company, has scooters on the ground in Washington, Portland, San Francisco and Long Beach, California. She is also testing the service in San Jose and Oakland, California. Lyft has recently been launched in Denver, Santa Monica and Washington. How are they regulated? Most cities were not prepared for the arrival of the scooters and did not have any regulations. Several places have totally banned the service, reacting in some cases to the unannounced arrival of scooters and dockless motorcycles executing cease and desist orders. Cities continue to struggle with the creation of rules governing services, including the definition of where it is legal to drive scooters, park restrictions, fees, parking and speed. Seattle has banned shared scooters until it can study the situation in other cities. Earlier this year, Nashville issued a cease and desist order to Bird, accusing the company of using public sidewalks without permission, but later approved a law allowing scooters to return. San Francisco has forced scooter companies to close their doors, but has recently reopened its lines of communication with the industry.
The rental electric scooters, banned from San Francisco in June as a result of complaints, returned to the city last month as part of a pilot program lasting one year. (David Paul Morris / Bloomberg) In the district, scooters are subject to the regulations on "personal mobility devices", which states that they are motor vehicles and that no one under the age of 16 can afford them. use.[[[[Bicycle without dock, scooter companies clash with US cities over regulation]Where can they be mounted? Most cities allow electric scooters on the road. Like bikes, they are considered vehicles and can share the road with regular traffic. On the road, runners must respect the rules of the road. But states and cities may have different rules, and riders must check the rules of their jurisdictions. Like bikes, some cities allow the use of scooters on sidewalks, others do not. California law, for example, prohibits electric scooters on sidewalks. In Denver, scooters are only allowed on sidewalks and their use is prohibited on the street. In the district, scooters can be used on sidewalks, except in the central business district, which includes the city center. The same rule applies to bicycles. Generally, bikers are encouraged to use available bike lanes or the road. Driving is discouraged on crowded sidewalks, where they can be dangerous for pedestrians. How can I rent one, and how much does it cost? You can search, unlock and pay for a scooter using the application of each company. The apps are available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. The applications work the same way: they indicate the location of the scooter closest to you and guide you through the rental process. You will need a credit card. Scooters in most cities rent $ 1 to start, plus 15 cents a minute. In some cities it's 20 cents a minute. Are there any conditions for renting and driving a scooter? Most companies require runners to be 18 years of age or older. This stipulation is often printed on the scooter and / or included in the contract of use. Bird and Lime require users to scan driver's licenses. Skip uses ID technology to make sure motorcyclists meet age criteria in most cities. Is there a security protocol and a helmet is needed? Most cities do not require cyclists to wear a helmet, as is the case in Washington, but companies encourage their use. Bird and Skip will send headsets to users who request them. For safety reasons, only one person is allowed on one scooter at a time. Cyclists are advised to follow all traffic rules, including signs. Use both hands when driving and do not wear earphones to be able to pay attention to your environment without distracting you. [Electric scooters might revolutionize urban transport — if it wasn’t for stupid humans] How are the scooters maintained? Companies are expected to deploy staff to check scooters daily, but reports of broken or vandalized equipment and malfunctions are on the rise. Some companies indicated that they encouraged maintenance and hired mechanics and specialized personnel. Bird, for example, recently recruited a team called Bird Watchers, who scans all scooters, inspects them with the help of a maintenance checklist and is trained to solve problems on the spot. . Companies claim that they are also working to roll out a more rugged scooter designed for everyday use – a more durable option than the first generation of scooters. How fast can they go? Most companies have set speed limits on their scooters at 15 mph. However, they encourage riders to respect local regulations and to exercise caution. In the district, new regulations coming into effect next year will force companies to set a maximum speed of 10 mph. What is the life of the battery? Most shared scooters have a range of up to 30 miles and are designed to last all day. What are the hours of operation? Most scooter companies pick up scooters at night to recharge and repair if necessary and take them back to the street in the morning. Lime says his scooters are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have teams pulling scooters to rebalance every eight hours. Are they available in all weathers? As winter approaches, scooters may not be widely available in some cities. Companies say that they can pull their fleet in bad weather and / or adjust their operations. For example, scooters will no longer be in service during a snowstorm. Company officials say that they make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Bird has suspended operations in hurricane-hit cities Florence and Michael. Lime said that in regions with harsh winters where roads are too cold, it sometimes redistributes scooters to warmer regions. Where are you supposed to park them? The key is to park responsibly. Some cities (and companies) are starting to crack down on users who simply drop scooters anywhere when they're done. They are also working to create designated parking spaces on sidewalks and sidewalks for bikes and scooters. Some companies are working on a geofencing technology that would prevent runners from ending trips to areas where they are not supposed to leave their vehicles. As a general rule, bikers should never leave a scooter in order to block pedestrian walkways, walkways or entrances, pedestrian crossings, bus or subway stops. Scooters must be parked upright. What else should we expect? In the coming months, the decorum debate on scooters, the infrastructure to manage people mobility options and education campaigns to encourage safe and orderly driving may be more numerous. This fall, Lime is launching a $ 3 million education and security campaign that includes ads, outreach and helmet distribution. Businesses and cities will have to do better to educate all road users on how to coexist. .