Purpose and Scope of this Site

During 2018, large numbers of electrically powered scooters appeared in cities across the United States. Dockless, they could be unlocked and rented using a smartphone app, ridden wherever the renter wished, and then left at a spot convenient to the end of the rider's journey. In some localities the governmental bodies overseeing and regulating the public spaces through which these vehicles were to be operated were not consulted. In most, they were caught unprepared, lacking permitting schemes or traffic regulations tailored to this new phenomenon. Under the motor vehicle codes of many states it was unclear whether they belonged on public roads, public sidewalks, bike lanes, or could be operated without a license and registration.

This site aims to collect examples of the regulatory responses that have followed in U.S. cities and states. Even before the pandemic disrupted everything, many responses were still avowedly temporary and labeled as pilot programs. As of mid-April 2020 it appears probable that numbers of scooter-share companies will not survive the public health crisis and that the regulatory dynamic following "opening up" is likely to be quite different.  On the other hand, in urban areas where this form of micromobility had become well established prior to the appearance of COVID-19, e-scooters (both shared and individually owned) continue to furnish an important mode of transportation, one that some cities are working to sustain by adjusting licensing terms.  And states, New York among them, continue to pass legislation regulating their use.

The principal purpose for gathering these examples in one spot is to assist state and local governments and their citizens to learn from one another. What has been tried? What appears to be working?

This country's division of legal authority between federal and state governments and between state governments and municipalities is distinctive. For that reason, the site will not systematically report on regulatory approaches employed elsewhere. 

Organization

The site's entries are currently organized into the following categories:

Invitation

Launched in the early days of 2019, this site is very much a work in progress. If there is a news story about a U.S. city's approach, an ordinance passed by a community, or a state legislative development warranting coverage that the site has missed, please send the details, if possible with the pertinent URL, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Peter W. Martin
Cornell Law School
Site Editor & Administrator