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Q&A: E-Scooters and Dockless Mobility

Post Date:07/07/2019 5:18 PM

The city has launched a one-year pilot program for e-scooters and other dockless transportation. Here are some answers to questions you may have.

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The city plans to continue offering "scooter school" events for dockless users; check back for information as events are added.

 

 

Q: Why is the city introducing a scooter program?

The city joins the region in finding ways to use our limited street space more efficiently and sustainably.

E-scooters and other shared micro-mobility transportation options are an increasingly popular way to get around in urban areas — and may provide easier access to transit, increased activity in business districts, enhanced university connection, and reduced dependence on automobiles.

Q: Is this pilot program only for scooters?

This pilot program allows for bicycle and e-bike rentals, but the companies currently participating in the program provide e-scooters only.

Q: Is this a permanent program?

This is a one-year pilot program, through July 8, 2020. City staff will monitor and evaluate the program before making longer-term recommendations.

Q: What scooter companies will operate in the city, and how many scooters will there be?

There may be up to 750 scooters deployed in the city.

Lime, Bird, and Spin are participating in the pilot program, and may deploy up to 250 scooters each.

Additionally, neighboring jurisdictions and communities may have pilot programs in place as well, which could fluctuate the number of e-scooters within the city limits.

Q: How does the scooter-renting system operate? In other words, how do I find one, pay, and roll?

Most companies use smartphone apps to rent their scooters. Download the app and set up an account to:

  • Find scooters nearby.
  • Scan the bar code on the e-scooter with your phone’s camera, and follow the instructions in the app to start your trip. The credit card you use to set up your account will automatically be charged for your ride.
  • Reserve a scooter for an upcoming trip.

 E-scooter companies establishes their own rules and practices, so details may vary.


Q: How old does a rider have to be to use a scooter?

Most e-scooter rental companies require users to be age 18 or older. Read the user agreement for details.

Virginia law considers e-scooters to be transportation vehicles — not toys — and expects users to understand and follow the rules of the road.

Virginia law permits riders as young as age 14 to ride their personal e-scooters.

Q: Can I take them anywhere?

The City of Fairfax pilot program permits and regulates shared e-scooters on any public streets within city limits. Check the app or company website to see the service area(s).

Please note: If you ride outside of the service area or try to park in a location where scooters are not permitted, you may not be able to end your ride or may get charged an extra fee for leaving the scooter there.

Q: Am I required to wear a helmet?

Virginia law does not require the use of a helmet when riding an e-scooter. However, the city encourages the practice.

 

Q: What traffic laws apply to riding a scooter?

Scooter operators are expected to: use bike lanes or drive on the right side of the road, ride in the same direction as traffic, use hand signals to communicate when turning, yield to pedestrians, and obey all traffic signs and signals.

Read Virginia Code Title 46.2 and Virginia HB 2752 for laws and regulations that apply to e-scooters.

Q: Where can I ride scooters around town?

The best place to ride an e-scooter is in a bike lane. However, e-scooters are allowed in the street with traffic, much like bicycles.

City Code currently prohibits e-scooters, e-bikes, and other vehicles from sidewalks and trails (except on certain designated routes).

During the pilot program, city staff are evaluating these rules and reviewing experiences in other jurisdictions to see if changes may be advised.

Q: Where do I leave my scooter when I’m done?

The best place to park an e-scooter is next to a bike rack or on the sidewalk next to the curb between the sidewalk and street, as space permits. When in doubt, use common sense and common courtesy: try to park e-scooters neatly so the street looks uncluttered, and where they’re out of people’s way and don’t create a safety problem.

Parked e-scooters may not block sidewalks, curb ramps or crosswalks, roads, doorways, or other walkways and places that people need to access.

During the pilot program, city staff will see where e-scooters are in high demand and may establish e-scooter parking areas for user ease and convenience.

Q: Can I ride a scooter from the city to George Mason University campus, and leave it there?

 
Check with George Mason University, or with the e-scooter company.

Please note: If you ride outside of the service area or try to park in a location where scooters are not permitted, you may not be able to end your ride or may get charged an extra fee for leaving the scooter there.

Q: How will a scooter’s battery be charged?

Chargers —  individuals who sign up with the company and receive the equipment to charge the e-scooters — collect e-scooters, charge them, then put them back into service areas.

E-scooter companies can monitor battery life and conditions of e-scooters and respond if there are issues, and receive reports through the app, by phone, or online. Companies in the city’s pilot program must maintain e-scooters in good repair and respond to issues in a timely manner.

Q: Who can I contact for issues with a scooter?

Contact the e-scooter company directly for e-scooter service or equipment issues. Companies display contact information on their e-scooters and provide customer service.

If a scooter is improperly parked, you can move it to a proper parking area — most e-scooters are relatively lightweight — or contact the e-scooter company directly

Q: How can I share feedback about the city's dockless pilot program?

 For general comments or questions about the city’s pilot program, visit fairfava.gov/dockless.