Get ready for scooters, Seattle: Lawmakers approve new scooter-sharing pilot
Seattle City Council on Tuesday voted 8 to 1 to approve a pilot scooter-sharing program. The chairman of the transport committee, Alex Pedersen, was the only one to vote against the ordinance.
After an environmental review and application process that sparked interest from nine scooter-sharing companies, the city is ready to test the new mobility option later this year. Three companies will be allowed to operate up to 500 scooters each at the start; this number could reach 2,000 for each operator.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan last year committed to launch the pilot but the process was bogged down by bureaucratic hurdles and other municipal priorities.
Scooters will be capped at 15 MPH and 8 MPH for the first ride. Driving is permitted on bike paths, public roads, and roads with a speed limit of 25 MPH or less. Scooters are not allowed on sidewalks, except as part of a cycle path. They can be parked in bike racks, in furniture areas – the area between the curb and the front edge of the walkway – and in scooter parking corrals.
The city will have “an incentive to wear a helmet”; city law already requires scooter drivers to wear helmets. Safety is a key issue for city leaders, as studies indicate that scooter-related injuries are on the rise, especially among bikers who do not wear helmets.
Scooters will join shared bikes on the streets of Seattle. Bike sharing services were phased out earlier this year due to the pandemic, but Lime said last month that he plans to bring 2,000 JUMP bikes back to Seattle by fall.
“After being the first city to offer bike sharing, Seattle is taking another major step towards a more sustainable future,” said Jonathan Hopkins, Lime’s director of strategic development for the Northwest, in a statement. “It’s now more important than ever for residents to have safe and socially remote transportation options, like bicycles and scooters, that can help reduce car congestion. We applaud the council for its vision and look forward to serving Seattle residents with electric bikes and scooters for many years to come. “
Lime and Spin are participating in a separate pilot program with King County in the White Center area just south of downtown Seattle.