Charlotte City Council discussing permanent policy solutions for electric scooters in city

Bird electric scooters have arrived in Cincinnati. (Source: @BirdRide)
Bird electric scooters have arrived in Cincinnati. (Source: @BirdRide)
Updated: Oct. 22, 2018 at 6:34 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte City Council’s Transportation and Planning Committee sat down to talk about how electric scooters have impacted the city at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center this morning.

The meeting included discussion about I-77 mobility, neighborhood traffic calming, transit oriented development zoning districts and e-scooter policies.

The conversation about new plans for e-scooter regulation was the most passionately discussed point on the agenda.

When e-scooters first came to Charlotte, in May of 2018, the city established a pilot program.

Now that the pilot is wrapping up, City Council is trying to decide on how to create a permanent plan for scooters.

The city currently has 800 scooters permitted.

In the month of August and September, 140,000 and 120,000 scooter rides, respectively, were taken.

The scooters provide a cheap, environmentally-friendly alternative transportation option, but come with safety risks if riders disregard rules.

Larken Egleston, a Charlotte City Council member, witnessed a person scooting down I-277.

“I slowed down enough to tell them to get off 277, and they thought it was funny," said Egleston. "And I was like, I’m going to see these people die.”

Injury for scooter riders, pedestrians and motorists are a concern for council members to consider, so the meeting today focused on how to keep scooters on Charlotte sidewalks safely.

One suggestion was for a big marketing push emphasizing the safe ways people should ride.

“These accidents are already happening and misuses of the scooters are already happening," said Egleston. "We know we can’t prevent people from doing stupid stuff but we do want to let people know what the expectations are.”

Those expectations are to ride solo, yield to pedestrians, ride in the correct direction on the road, obey vehicle traffic laws, park correctly on sidewalks and never scoot drunk.

“We’ve been in the pilot program as we go into a permanent agreement with these companies they should set aside marketing dollars to help get the word out,” said Egleston.

The committee’s discussion about what to do to move out of the pilot program and find a permanent solution ran overtime, so they will continue to discuss this in the coming months.

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