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Should electric scooters be allowed on the U.S. Capitol Grounds?

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D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton thinks so

Electric scooters on the National Mall, in view of the U.S. Capitol
The Washington Post/Getty Images

Electric scooters are currently prohibited on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, even though some Hill staffers, tourists, and residents use them there anyway. Now, D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is calling for the ban to be lifted by the U.S. Capitol Police.

In a letter to Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, Norton wrote Tuesday that electric scooters should officially be permitted on the Capitol Grounds with “narrowly tailored regulations to protect public safety.” She said scooters “should be treated like motorized bicycles, mopeds, segways, and other low-speed vehicles,” which are already allowed on the grounds by policy.

Norton cited a letter that the Capitol Police sent in May to scooter companies operating in D.C., in which the department argued how the devices run afoul of existing regulations on “skating and play vehicles.” She said electric scooters are “distinct from toy scooters in both operation and function and are an affordable, environmentally friendly and efficient mode of transportation relied upon by increasing numbers of Hill staffers, D.C. residents and visitors to our nation’s capital.” Today the District permits nearly 5,000 shared scooters and electric bikes, with more potentially on the way. (Scooter company Skip was temporarily suspended.)

“I believe that the concerns you have raised in your letter can be addressed by working with scooter companies to identify solutions,” Norton continued. “Furthermore, it is not clear to me how scooters used by private individuals would violate prohibitions against advertising.”

Curbed has contacted the U.S. Capitol Police for comment and will update this post should the department provide any. In her letter, the delegate asked for a response within 30 days.

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