VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — E-scooters could return to the Oceanfront under a plan to better regulate their presence in the entire city. But first the ideas must pass through a divided city council.
When Brian Solis, Assistant to the Acting City Manager, briefed council Tuesday afternoon on the recommended licensing agreement options for e-scooter companies, it became clear positions hadn’t changed much from months prior.
“Yeah, I’d think so,” Vice Mayor Jim Wood said when asked if city leadership was still divided over the issue.
In August, council voted to ban the shared mobility devices from the popular tourist destination by a rare 6-5 vote over safety concerns.
Solis explained ways to address some of them in his presentation Tuesday, that would require companies, such as Bird or Lime, to obtain a license in order to operate within the city.
- Only 1,000 scooters would be allowed in the city under the plan, with numbers split evenly among four different potential companies. Solis said 6 companies have already approached the city.
- Only 400 scooters would be allowed at the Oceanfront at a time and companies would pay a one time $10,000 fee to help pay for new parking corrals along Atlantic Avenue.
- The city would receive $100/per scooter annually and an additional $0.50/scooter/days will be collected monthly for bike and trial improvements.
- Scooter speeds would be limited to 10 miles per hour at the Oceanfront and 15 miles per hour elsewhere.
Scooters will still be banned from riding in roads with over 25 mile per hour speed limits.
Companies would also have insurance requirements, but that is where Wood says he must see more.
“Things that I am primarily concerned with are injuries that occur to people, but not necessarily the riding them but the people who are struck by them. And the fact that there is no liability coverage for that,” Wood said.
However Councilman Aaron Rouse, who voted against the original ban, appeared disgusted with the whole discussion.
“I would caution on is heavy regulation and creating a culture of exempting people from personal responsibility,” Rouse said.
State law requires the city to establish a license to regulate the e-scooters before the first of the year.
At the end of the meeting the council did agree on bringing that to a vote.