For updated information on dockless scooter regulation, click here.
Dockless scooters are here to stay, at least for another nine months or so. This new form of mobile transportation, which allows anyone with a license to rent a scooter from right off the street through an app, first began popping up in Arlington last summer, but is traveling down the road and beginning to reach the streets of Alexandria and Fairfax.
Arlington is currently in the middle of its nine-month pilot program for the scooters that began in October. Bird, Lime and Lyft scooters are available for rent and you can hardly go anywhere in the county without seeing them parked on the sidewalk or whizzing past you with residents aboard.
There have been some issues involving the scooters in Arlington, with complaints about them being left wherever it seemed the riders deemed fit, at times blocking sidewalks or even being placed in residential driveways. As a result, Arlington has created special parking spots for the scooters as well as general tips on where it is appropriate to park a scooter.
Alexandria, meanwhile, has followed Arlington’s example after the scooters began appearing on its roads and has instituted its own pilot program. The program officially began on Jan. 7, according to a press release, and has approved a permit for Lime’s scooters, as well as the company’s dockless bike service. The city will continue to accept permit applications as they deem fit. Alexandria has created a dockless mobility information page on its city government’s website.
Scooters aren’t stopping in just Arlington or Alexandria, though. Despite having no official permission, reports state that the scooters have been appearing near or in Fairfax County, with expectations being that they are only going to expand as they did in the other counties. Unlike Arlington and Alexandria, which control their own roads, Fairfax County has little ability to regulate the scooters as the Virginia Department of Transportation is responsible for its roads and sidewalks.
There are laws currently in place that restrict motorized scooter use by certain age groups or the type of road, but the Virginia General Assembly is expected to look at a number of different bills that could address dockless bike and scooter operations during its current session.
Time will tell if this transportation trend will continue to spread across NoVA, or if it will scoot its way out of the area.