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D.C. lawmaker says overnight scooter ban will be nixed in pending bill

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Proposed scooter regulations are making their way through the legislative process

An electric scooter on a sidewalk in front of a classical building with archways.
A Bird scooter in D.C.
CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

The D.C. Council won’t ban electric scooters overnight as previously proposed, according to the legislator who chairs the Council’s transportation committee and pitched a bill of rules for shared scooters and bikes. Mary Cheh, the Ward 3 councilmember, confirmed during a hearing on the bill Monday that her committee would take out a provision that would have prohibited people from operating electric scooters across the District from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“[I]t’s been made very clear to me how important and helpful that late night access is for users,” Cheh wrote in a tweet. Some micromobility advocates and residents pushed back against the provision when it was first announced as part of the legislation in July. The bill would also place regulations on scooter and bike parking, speeds, and fleet sizes. More than 6,000 dockless vehicles are currently permitted in D.C., per the city’s transportation agency.

That number could grow next year under bylaws the District Department of Transportation is weighing. While those bylaws would allow for thousands of additional scooters and bikes in the city, they would cap the number of dockless vehicle providers at four and require that the vehicles are equitably distributed throughout D.C. The Council’s bill still must be marked up by Cheh’s committee before getting voted on by the full legislature and sent to the mayor.

The “Electric Mobility Devices Amendment Act of 2019” had four co-introducers in July. A Council majority of seven members is needed for legislation to advance beyond the Council.