Fairfax County considers e-scooter regulations

New rules of the road for scooters in Virginia also give local governments the power to regulate the companies that rent the shared electric vehicles, a power Fairfax County is hoping to implement by the end of the year.

A proposal presented Tuesday of the Board of Supervisors’ Transportation Committee would limit companies to 250 to 500 shared scooters each, require data sharing, require companies respond within a few hours to pick up scooters blocking sidewalks or dumped somewhere, cap speeds at 15 mph, and require annual and per-scooter licensing fees of $1,000 and $28.

As of July 1, Virginia law likens electric scooters to bikes as far as the rules of the road. Local governments can also now regulate the companies that provide shared scooters. The new law also limited scooter speeds to 20 mph.

Private properties, including Reston Town Center, the Mosaic District and Fairfax Corner, would still be able to ban or restrict scooter use, or parking even, after the county adopts any regulations.

The City of Fairfax launched a scooter program this week, and other jurisdictions such as Arlington, Alexandria, D.C., and Montgomery County, Maryland, have allowed some type of shared scooters for months or longer.

Fairfax County supervisors expressed some concerns about whether the 15 mph speed limit was appropriate, whether the county should allow more than 500 scooters per company to ensure they are available everywhere people want them, and whether the rules would be enough to prevent any issues of scooters blocking sidewalks.

The county plans public hearings and adoption of the rules in the fall. The rules could be amended in the future if needed.

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