City Survey

Research was conducted on 31 cities in the United States using various sources including micromobility and transportation websites, pilot program reports, ordinances, and news stories. Of these cities, 23 had active programs (others, listed below, were not yet approved, had been prohibited, or had been approved but had no e-scooter providers).

While there is some variation along the dimensions described in the table, trends have emerged for safety aspects such as device speed limit (typically under 20mph) and helmet requirements (typically not required for adults). Sidewalk riding is often prohibited in busier areas, but may be permissible in areas with lower traffic. Street riding is typically allowed, however it tends to be based on the speed limit of the street in question. Age limits are sometimes listed, but this is somewhat moot as e-scooter providers generally require renters to be over 18 years of age. While provider costs vary widely, they are typically broken down into permit/application fees and cost per device.

CityPilot DatesMaximum Devices/ProviderMinimum Devices/ProviderFeesSpeed LimitSidewalk Speed LimitHelmet RequiredStreet OperationSidewalk OperationLicensureAge RequirementReport LinkProgram WebsiteCity Ordinance/Pilot Link
Los Angeles, CA9/2020 - 9/202110500$10,000 permit + variable device fee15<18 years of ageStreets <25 mphProhibitedRequired16
Chicago, IL8/2020-1/20213333$250 permit + $120/device15Not requiredProhibitedRequired18
San Antonio, TX1000$500 application + $10/deviceNot requiredStreets <35 mphProhibitedNot required16
San Diego, CA$5141 permit + $150/device15<18 years of ageStreets <25 mphProhibitedRequired18
San Jose, CA100050$2500 permit + $97/device12<18 years of ageStreets <25 mphProhibitedRequired18
Austin, TXVariable based on usage$30/device20<18 years of ageStreets <35 mphAllowedNot required
Columbus, OH500$500 permit + $75/device20<18 years of ageStreets <35 mphProhibitedNot required16
Charlotte, NCVariable based on usage5015<16 years of ageAllowedRequired
San Francisco, CA1000 - 2500$25000 permit + $5000 application + $10000 endowment15<18 years of ageStreets <25 mphProhibitedRequired18
Indianapolis, IN1000$15,000 permit + $1/device/day20Not requiredProhibited (also specifies pedestrian paths are prohibited)
Seattle, WA10/2020 - ?Variable based on permit2000$232 permit + $296/hr review + $150 per scooter15RequiredStreets <25 mphProhibitedNot required16
Denver, CO? - 8/2020$15000 permit + $30/device20<18 years of ageStreets <30 mphProhibitedRequired16
Washington D.C.Variable based on usage500$250 permit + $33/month/device10Not requiredAllowedLocationalNot required16
Baltimore, MD2000150$70000/permit + $0.10/device206<16 years of ageAllowedLocational
Arlington County, VA2000$8000 permit156<14 years of ageAllowedAllowedNot required
City of Alexandria, VA200$1000 permit + $80/device15<14 years of ageAllowedProhibited
Fairfax City, VA250$5000 permit + $0.05/trip10<14 years of ageAllowedProhibited
Montgomery County, MD500 (includes ebikes)15<18 years of ageStreets <50 mphLocationalRequired
College Park, MD150RequiredLow traffic areasAllowedRequired18
Portland, OR6/2019 - 11/20202500$500 application + $80/scooter + $0.25/trip + $0.20 right of way use15RequiredAllowedProhibited16
Santa Monica, CA9/2018 - 4/2021Variable based on usage$20,000/year + $105/device/year + $0.20/trip15<18 years of ageAllowedProhibited Required16
Grand Rapids, MI9/2020 - 12/2021<19 years of ageAllowedAllowed18
New York, NY3/2021 - 3/202215<18 years of ageStreets <30 mphProhibitedNot required16

Of the cities evaluated, eight were operating pilot programs and 16 had established rules and ordinances. Scooters were approved but not available (no providers were currently offering scooters) in two of the cities surveyed (Fairfax County, VA, and Raleigh, NC), while scooters were prohibited in six cities (Houston, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Philadelphia, PA; Dallas, TX; Fort Worth, TX; and Jacksonville, FL). For pilot programs, the pilot program dates are listed. Cities were initially selected in order of size, with the 15 largest cities in the US being included here. Other cities were added later based on location or interesting factors. It should be noted that this is meant to be anecdotal reference, rather than a representative analysis of current trends in the U.S. As of 2020. scooters were available in 69 cities in the U.S., so this dataset represents fewer than half of the regulated areas.
Most of the cities surveyed listed a maximum number of scooters allowed, but this could be variable based on usage or behaviors by the device providers such as their participation in equity programs. Some also specify a minimum number of devices. Annual costs varied widely among the cities listed here, as did fee implementation. These costs are generally broken down into permit fees, application fees, and per-device fees. Requiring a fee for each trip (per-trip fee) is also fairly common. Some cities also require taxes and/or right of way fees as part of the costs. Speed limits on the devices are typically around 15 mph, with some cities as low as 10 mph or as high as 20 mph. Some cities have recently begun implementing separate speed limits for sidewalks and other types of special areas as geofencing technologies have improved.

Helmets are often required for certain age groups (for instance, those under 18), but rarely required for adults. While the age required to operate scooters varies, this should not be truly relevant since most scooter companies require renters to be 18 years of age. The issue of where to ride varies by city, and is generally based on infrastructure. For instance, in cities that have robust bike lane systems, it is more reasonable to prohibit sidewalk riding than in cities without bike lanes – especially near streets with higher speed limits for cars. This is one of the reasons some cities prohibit sidewalk riding in some parts of their jurisdiction, and allow it in other areas. While riding in bike lanes is generally allowed and often encouraged, riding on trails is sometimes prohibited.

Most cities specify parking upright in an area that does not block the public right of way. Some specify landscape/furniture zones and bike racks as acceptable places to park. Some require using only corrals, while others have corrals but allow riders to park on the sidewalk as well. Lock-to devices are required by some cities, and these devices can also prevent vandalism.

In most cities surveyed, e-scooter providers are generally required to have some level of public engagement. This may include such activities as hosting or attending community meetings, interfacing with local community leaders, and working with the city to collect survey data. Rider education is also a common requirement, and it may include information provided before the rental through the mobile app, hang-tags on the devices, and/or education through the provider website. Some cities also require e-scooter providers to host events where community members can learn to ride the scooters. Equity requirements can take many forms, and at least some equity measures are generally required. A few cities also require a mechanism for compliance audits, to ensure e-scooter requirements are being met. Customer service requirements are also common. However, some cities require that customer service requests are resolved in a certain amount of time. Some also require that the specific resolutions be tracked.

Some cities describe a list of challenges (such as parking, equity, and community engagement) and have the e-scooter providers give solutions to each challenge as part of the application process rather than specify exactly how those challenges should be resolved. This method can be beneficial because it leverages the knowledge e-scooter providers already have, which can lead to unique solutions.

This spreadsheet provides information on city or county regulations. However, many local regulations are governed by or based on state regulations. A comprehensive set of state laws can be found here:

Note that there may be errors in this spreadsheet as the spreadsheet is static but the rules are changing regularly. Further, not all changes to the rules are published.