The Evolving Purpose and Scope of this Site

Over the past decade electrically powered bicycles, stand-up scooters, skateboards, and more have burst onto the nation’s streets and sidewalks. Embedded technology combined with widespread smartphone ownership enabled well-funded start-ups to distribute large numbers of these novel electric vehicles across urban spaces, offering them for on-demand, short-term rental. This blossoming of “micromobility” has taken place within physical and legal infrastructures ill-prepared for the change. Indisputably, most of the new types of individual motorized mobility fell outside established vehicle categories. The literal terms of existing law banned their use on all public rights of way, whether roadway, bicycle path, or sidewalk.

This site maps the ad hoc, largely industry-driven, and still-distressingly-incomplete adjustment of U.S. vehicle and traffic laws to accommodate and regulate the rapid spread of electrically-powered personal mobility devices.

When launched in early 2019 the site focused on e-scooters.  Its scope is being expanded to encompass a wider array of these small e-vehicles.  Since there is no uniform national law governing the field, but, instead, a quilt of federal, state, and local regulations, the site's principal ambition is to provide pathways to the relevant legal authorities, interesting legislative or regulatory proposals, and useful commentary.  It also seeks to provide a framework that may assist understanding how they fit together and encourage research on the emerging issues. 

For a paper proving a preliminary sketch of the field, see  Peter W. Martin, Micromobility Law: Major Road Work Ahead (2022).

The site's materials are, at present, organized into the following topics:

Invitation

The site remains very much a work in progress. If you spot an error in these materials or are aware of a state or local legal development warranting coverage, 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