E-scooters in D.C. would see stricter regulations — including an overnight ban on riding e-scooters — under proposed legislation from the D.C. Council.
In addition to a ban on operating e-scooters between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., the legislation calls for changes to the speed limits of scooters and electric bikes and a 24-hour complaint line to report issues with e-scooter operation and parking.
Councilmember Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, introduced the Electric Mobility Device Amendment Act to the council, along with councilmembers Charles Allen, D-Ward 6, Brianne Nadeau, D-Ward 1, and Jack Evans, D-Ward 2 on Tuesday.
The speed limit on scooters would be increased to 15 mph (currently limited to 10 mph) on streets and in bike lanes, but capped at 6 mph when on a sidewalk. E-bikes would limited to 20 mph on the street.
E-scooter operators would be required to maintain a 24-hour toll-free phone number so that people can report scooters that are illegally parked. Once an illegally parked scooter has been reported, the companies would have three hours to move it.
At least 10% of an e-scooter company’s fleet would be required to be available in each Ward by 6 a.m. under the proposed legislation.
“Many scooter users weave in and out of pedestrians on the sidewalk at high speeds, do not follow important safety rules, ride while inebriated, and routinely discard scooters that block pedestrian walkways, private driveways, and handicap accessible ramps,” Cheh said in a statement.
“This legislation is a broad and comprehensive approach to establishing common sense electric scooter and electric bike rules that will help keep our streets and sidewalks safe while also enabling these services to continue to operate in the District.”
Companies would be required to pay a bond to the District that would be used to pay for any damage to public property caused by an e-scooter.
The following changes are being proposed under the new legislation:
- Requiring operators to release fleet, trip, and complaint data to the District Department of Transportation;
- Giving the DDOT Director the ability to suspend permits of operators who are not abiding by the law and provide the agency with the authority to fine operators who have been the subject of a disproportionate amount of complaints;
- Requiring DDOT to construct signage and/or pavement markings to identify the Central Business District; and
- Establishes a parking pilot to create electric scooter exclusive parking locations.