Mopeds to join DC dockless craze

European electric scooter-sharing company Muving is eyeing entry into D. C.s dockless bike and scooter program. The company would introduce vespa-like scooters that comfortably seat two and can be rented via an app. (WTOP/Jeff Clabaugh)

Mopeds are set to join the dockless craze in the District.

The District Department of Transportation is opening a permit process next week for a four-month pilot that would allow app-based shared motor-driven cycles like Vespas to hit the streets of D.C. The chosen companies are expected to operate electric vehicles.

D.C. law defines motor-driven cycles as a vehicle with a seat or saddle, two or three wheels, a maximum 50 CC motor, maximum speed of 30 mph and a drive system that does not require gear shifting by the user.

The vehicles may park on a sidewalk outside the downtown area as long as they are not attached to a tree or planting area and does not block the sidewalk.

That differs under District law from motorized bicycles, which require working pedals for the rider.

The city already has similar one-way carsharing, bike and scooter companies in operation.

Permits will require companies ensure users follow laws on motor-driven cycles, which include wearing a helmet, having a driver’s license and riding only on the street, not sidewalks.

Each company could be allowed up to 400 vehicles.

Several companies have been working with the District, or otherwise have expressed interest. One company, Revel, told WTOP Friday it is planning to apply for a permit. Muving has been in contact with D.C. already, and one of its vehicles was spotted in the city last year.

Some of the companies provide helmets that are left with the vehicles.

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