Pittsburgh To Get Electric Scooter Pilot Program With Provision Included In Budget Bill | News | Pittsburgh
Unlike most other states, electric scooters (which are motorized standing scooters with handlebars and a platform for cyclists to stand on) are illegal in Pennsylvania. They currently do not meet any classification in the Pennsylvania Motor Code, so although private versions can be seen on some city streets, towns in Pennsylvania do not have the shareable electric scooters available in most others. major American cities.
But Pittsburgh will soon have shareable electric scooters thanks to a provision in Pennsylvania’s recently signed budget bill. Pittsburgh has been granted a scooter-sharing pilot program, and according to the provision, only a second-class city can carry out the pilot. Pittsburgh is the only second-class city in Pennsylvania. The pilot will last two years.
Electric scooters are driven standing up and generally run at the speed of cyclists. They are different from electric mopeds (like Scoobi) and electric assist bikes, a.k.a. electric bikes.
Karina Ricks, Director of the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, said Pittsburgh City Paper that the low-speed scooter pilot program will be part of a larger micro-mobility pilot program that the city will announce next week. She says she is grateful to the state legislature and the governor for granting the city of Pittsburgh the opportunity to test electric scooter sharing.
“We need to take a holistic approach to mobility,” says Ricks. “We have people who don’t have access to high frequency transit or a vehicle. It’s not in our best interests as a city to put up barriers to things that might be of use. ”
Ricks says 25% of auto trips are less than a mile and thinks the city needs to do more to give people more options for short trips, and electric scooters may be one of them.
She also understands that electric scooters have become a source of consternation in many cities, with scooters left all over sidewalks and in inconvenient places, and people walking past pedestrians on sidewalks. However, she hopes the Pittsburgh driver fixes these issues. For one thing, Pittsburgh’s electric scooters must be used on streets, bike paths, or footpaths, and are prohibited on sidewalks. “We have narrow sidewalks, and the feeling for our city is that [e-scooters] shouldn’t be on the sidewalk at all, ”says Ricks.
She also adds that Pittsburgh’s electric scooters will likely be parked on the street, not on sidewalks, at the start or end of on-street vehicle parking, or in locations designated by the city.
“These aren’t perfect, so far nothing on the roads is perfect, but we would love to have the opportunity to see what role they will play in a mobility ecosystem,” says Ricks.
According to the provisions entered in the State budget:
- Electric scooters will have a speed limit of 15 mph.
- Users must be 16 years of age or older to use electric scooters.
- Electric scooters will not be allowed on highways or on streets with speed limits of 35 mph or more.
- All electric scooters must be equipped with lamps and reflectors.
- Scooters will weigh less than 100 pounds, have handlebars, a floor to stand on, and be powered only by an electric motor, or human power, or both.
Ricks says what makes the Pittsburgh pilot program different from other cities is that there will only be one company operating electric scooters in Pittsburgh. According to the provisions, this company is required to take out general liability and automobile insurance.
The Pittsburgh pilot’s electric scooter company has yet to be revealed, but docks for the Spin electric scooter company have been spotted across town. Spin is the electric scooter company backed by Ford Motor Company.
Ricks says having one electric scooter company rather than several – like Lime, Uber, Bird, etc. – should be easier to regulate for the city. The provisions give the City of Pittsburgh the power to pass laws regarding the regulation and operation of electric scooters, and will comply with bicycle regulations.
“Our pilot is just a supplier. And the reason we do it with one is so that we can have better accountability, ”says Ricks. “We are working with the fleet so that they can communicate education issues to users and properly manage the scooters.”
She also believes that a pilot program will help the state and other cities determine how best to implement electric scooters on a larger scale, and that Pittsburgh will share the data with the state to keep them informed.
“I’m just grateful for this approach,” says Ricks. “Try before you buy, give us that local control and see if you can trust a small town. I believe you can. It is an extremely new approach. It demonstrates the value of demonstrating.
Next week, more information on electric scooters will be revealed at a press event for the Pittsburgh Mobility Collective, according to Ricks. She says the event will focus not only on electric scooters, but on a suite of solutions aimed at providing the people of Pittsburgher, especially those without access to cars or good public transportation, better mobility options.