Virginia Beach city leaders create new initiative to address motorized scooter safety

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jul 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-31 17:10:54-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -  Whether you’re in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, it’s hard to get away from folks zipping by on e-scooters.

“I really like them a lot,” Makenzie Spielman, who was visiting the Oceanfront, said. “I think that they are fun.”

It’s a type of fun that others say is keeping them on alert.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“People really drive crazy on them,” vacationer Jason Tickle said. “Last night, I almost hit two people.”

Tickle said he “had to stop. They seemed pretty obliviously to anybody but what they were on.”

Because of several accidents and near-misses, Virginia Beach city leaders told News 3 they have created the Shared Mobility Services Task Force.

It consists of various city offices: the City Attorney’s Office, City Manager’s Office, the Commissioner of the Revenue Office, the Communications Office, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Community Development, police and Public Works.

“It’s currently not against the law for more than two - sometimes you see even three - people getting on the scooters,” Assistant to the City Manager – Special Projects Brian Solis said. “They may be violating Bird or Lime’s policy, but they are not violating city code.”

As of now, it’s only illegal to travel along Atlantic Avenue, the boardwalk, at Town Center and on sidewalks - which people still do.

That could soon change.

Related: Electric bikes gaining popularity in Hampton Roads

“There’s speed limits on certain roads. There’s regulating what roads they are allowed on, which they are not. Higher speed limit roads would be a group of roads that we would recommend they not be allowed on," Solis said.

Based on their current code, any company can drop off scooters in the city. However, with the task force they are hoping to change that and create a more harmonious environment.

“The task force is working through what laws could we or what permit requirements could we make to create a safer environment for motorized scooters and a more harmonious environment for everyone,” Solis mentioned.

That permit would be mandatory in the future for any vendor interested in scooting their way into the Resort City.

“The companies will need to agree to all of the city requirements to get a permit or their permit could be revoked to operate in Virginia Beach and currently we do not have those things in place,” Solis told News 3 reporter Brian Hill.

This initiative is focusing on four areas of improvement: public safety and use compatibility with people, property and the environment, mobility choices for residents and visitors, management of the curbside and other public right-of-way/property, relationships to public transportation options and public and private parking.

The city said they are required to have their city code updated by December 31.