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Rules begin to take shape for e-scooters in Seattle

An e-scooter demonstration at Seattle City Hall. (Daron Casey, KTTH)

The City of Seattle continues to try and figure out the best way forward for electric scootershares, evidenced by documents that reveal how it plans to safely bring the service into the fold.

E-scooters could arrive in White Center before end of year

The documents — first reported on by Geekwire — indicate that e-scooters won’t be allowed to exceed 15 miles an hour. Services that provide scootershares will also help subsidize the pilot program by paying a fee.

Among the planned restrictions on scooters include a measure keeping them off of sidewalks, limiting them to bike lanes and “multi-use trails.” There will also be limitations on where they can be parked.

Improperly parked bikeshares have long been an issue the city has dealt with, recently cutting Lime and Uber Jump’s fleet maximums as a punitive measure, and establishing stringent benchmarks for both companies. Combined between Uber and Lime, a recent audit from SDOT found 1.6 percent of bikes blocking pedestrian pathways; 17.4 percent presenting “obstruction hazards”; and 32.5 percent parked incorrectly.

SDOT has since reported improvements in that department.

Lime rolls into council meeting with plenty of scooter support

The hope is to head those issues off in the developmental stage for e-scooters, with SDOT asking that companies “prioritize obstruction hazards in responding to reports that scooters are improperly parked or need maintenance.”

A public comment period on this first run of regulations for scootershares runs until Dec. 23. The city is aiming for an “early to mid 2020” launch date for its pilot program.

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