Lynchburg City Council considering e-scooter regulations

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — The Lynchburg City Council is preparing for motorized scooters to come to the Hill City.

The city’s attorney says if they don’t pass an ordinance regulating the use of scooters by the end of the year, a state law will allow companies to bring scooters in anywhere they choose and without any oversight.

Council members are considering how scooters will fit in to existing roads, sidewalks, and neighborhoods and how to avoid accidents and obstructions.

To get an idea of what that will look like, WFXR News turned to Liberty University, which has Bird scooters on campus. University officials said they can’t discuss the details of their arrangement with Bird, but the students there shared their thoughts.

“I use the Bird scooters probably every day,” said graduate student Zach Clinton. “I park usually a pretty far distance away and hop on these and get there within two or three minutes.”

Clinton says the mobile app is easy to use, it’s a fair price, and they’re not in people’s way, because he says the app continues to charge you unless you leave the scooter in a specific location.

“They actually have parking zones, so you can only park them in a certain area, so they’re usually not in your way, so it’s actually really nice.”

Junior Philip Pomeroy learned the hard way that not everyone docks the scooters responsibly.

“If they park them behind your car, they’re just the right level where you’re not going to see it, so you have to check behind your car every single day when you go and drive out, because I’ve run over a Bird scooter,” he said. “They’re durable! I will give them that. They’re durable as heck.”

He likes the concept of scooters but thinks there needs to be plenty of oversight.

With regulation, the scooters can be geofenced, meaning they only work within certain geographic boundaries.

That’s something Pomeroy says the City Council needs to consider.

“There definitely needs to be specific designated zones,” he said. “It’s bad enough on Liberty campus. I’ve been downtown plenty of times. If what happens here at Liberty, where it’s just parked everywhere is downtown, it’s just going to be a traffic hazard.”

At the last City Council meeting, Council members discussed a draft ordinance that they would need to finalize and pass by their December 10th meeting if they want to control the use of scooters going forward.

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