How will your locality handle e-scooters? New regulations go into effect Jan. 1

Regional News

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Every city in the Hampton Roads region has approved a preliminary plan to regulate electric scooters, yet less than half say they’re ready to accept the two-wheeled devices.

In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law requiring local governments to make a decision on how they would regulate the scooters by Jan. 1, 2020, or forfeit their right to do so.

E-scooters are still relatively new to Hampton Roads. They originally arrived in both the resort city and Norfolk last year unannounced.

Under the business model, riders can find and “unlock” the battery-powered scooter through a mobile app and start riding for a fee. They are considered dockless and are supposed to be ridden in roadways and parked on sidewalks, without blocking the public right of way.

Currently, only Norfolk has a full-fledged “scooter program.”

Under an agreement with Lime, the company paid $15,000 for a one-year permit to exclusively operate its shared mobility devices in city limits. It also then receives an additional 5 cents per scooter trip.

Lime is required to provide data once a month on usage, trip duration, accidents and complaints.

As of Dec. 26, here’s how Hampton Roads cities and counties are dealing with e-scooters:

  • Chesapeake – Franchise needed, no rule specifics yet
  • Hampton – Franchise needed, no rule specifics yet
  • Newport News – Franchise needed, scooters need horn/lights
  • Norfolk – Franchise with Lime until June 2020
  • Portsmouth – Franchise needed, pilot program calls for 250 scooters
  • Suffolk – Franchise needed, no rule specifics yet
  • Virginia Beach – Franchise needed, no rule specifics yet
  • Williamsburg – Franchise needed, banned in Colonial Williamsburg

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