Urban areas in the US have seen an influx in rentable electric scooters in the last year, with Bird and Lime being two popular companies.
The concept is appealing and simple: by downloading the corresponding app, users can pay a small fee to unlock and ride an electric scooter or e-scooter, some of which can get up to speeds of 15 mph.
Since launching in 2017, Bird has deployed its scooters in 100-plus cities around the globe; and Lime even rebranded from its original name, LimeBike (in reference to rideshare bikes), to announce it had expanded its enterprise to include electric scooters.
— City of San Diego (@CityofSanDiego) January 3, 2019
Because the scooters are dockless, users can leave the scooters anywhere when done riding. This is convenient for users, but the scooters can become a nuisance for facility managers if poor parking presents safety concerns.
In fact, the city of San Francisco issued an official ban on e-scooters last spring. Scooter companies Bird, Lime and Spin had been operating in San Francisco without permission from the city.
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The ban was enacted until the city could figure out how to regulate them. After a long permit application process, San Francisco decided to allow just two companies, Scoot and Skip, a one-year test permit.
3 Tips for Proper E-Scooter Parking
You might be seeing an abundance of scooters strewn on the sidewalks outside your building. If occupants start to complain, what should you do?
Many cities, and the scooter companies themselves, are still grappling with parking requirements. Austin, TX, even ordered dockless scooter companies to build in geo-fencing technology that will let riders know when they’ve parked in a city-approved area.
In the meantime, consider these three tips to protect your occupants and property:
1. Encourage occupants to park responsibly.
Scooters should not be parked in spots that block pedestrian walkways, driveways or building entrances. They also should not be parked at crosswalks or bus stops. Consider putting up signage and sending occupants a memo.
2. Brush up on your city’s regulations.
How has your city responded to the influx of electric scooters? Research shows that city regulations have proven successful in resolving dockless system complaints. A report from the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy states that, when local governments view dockless systems as an extension of the transit system, appropriate regulation allows ridership to flourish.
3. Display safety protocols.
Recommend that occupants wear helmets when riding e-scooters, and indicate where the hand brakes are on different brands. Encourage riding in bike lanes instead of busy sidewalks.
What to Expect of E-Scooters in the Future
Scooters have been on city streets for a relatively short period of time, which means the kinks are still being worked out. Companies are contemplating geo-fencing technology, incentives for proper parking and more education campaigns on riding safely.
Despite problems you might be facing with rideshare scooters — whether it be congested sidewalks or the potential for accidents — their prevalence indicates they’re here to stay. And the benefits of e-scooters shouldn’t be ignored.
While cities and scooter companies continue to figure out the best way to work together, let your occupants know your concern is all about their safety first.
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