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Motorized Foot Scooters

In March of 2019, the City Council reauthorized a one-year electric scooter pilot through March 31, 2020. This pilot allows for an initial maximum of 2,000 scooters and up to 4 participating vendors. Distribution requirements will be implemented as well, including at least 600 scooters among Areas of Concentrated Poverty in North, NE, and South Minneapolis, and no more than 800 scooters distributed to Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. 
 
The goal of the 2019 pilot is to determine how to best position scooters long-term as a viable transportation option for all in Minneapolis, and ensure alignment with the City’s Transportation Action Plan goals. Equity will be a key priority in 2019, by expanding access to scooters through increased fleet size and distribution, and alternatives to access for those without a smartphone or credit card. Safety will also be a primary focus, as well as maintaining accessibility within the right-of-way for all in Minneapolis.

2018 Scooter Pilot Data

A survey was conducted during the pilot by scooter companies on behalf of the City to understand user demographics and behavior, with a total of 987 respondents. Summarized results are available here.

During the pilot, data was also collected to analyze usage including number of trips, duration, distance traveled, and trip start and end points.

This data is visualized in the dashboard below. Hover over or click to explore this data further. To reset the data, click on the revert button at the bottom left of the dashboard. To zoom in and out on the map, use your mouse to scroll.

If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard on your mobile device use this mobile friendly version.


 Below is a time-lapse video showing daily scooter trip density by either off-street trail or street segment over the course of the pilot.

Read more about our approach to mobility data, collection and analysis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a motorized scooter?

Motorized foot scooter networks have grown in popularity across the country and arrived in Minneapolis with the debut of Bird and Lime scooters in July of 2018. Users download an app on their smartphone to locate and rent the scooters. Scooter rentals are charged a base rate and then by the minute, and scooters can be left on the sidewalk near final destinations provided they do not block pedestrian path of travel or access.

Are motorized scooters legal in Minnesota?

Cities across the country have taken different approaches to regulating the scooter rental companies. Some have impounded scooters and issued fines against the companies for failing to cooperate with city rules. Each city or regulatory agency may have different rules for scooters.

Minneapolis recently passed a new ordinance to regulate scooters on City of Minneapolis streets and sidewalks. The ordinance requires scooter rental companies to enter into a written agreement with the city; the agreement lists specific conditions that the companies must follow to help keep streets and sidewalks safe and orderly.

What is Minneapolis' regulatory approach to scooters?

The City’s scooter sharing ordinance requires the sharing networks to obtain a license agreement with the City and follow rules for parking and in the right-of-way.

State law already regulates how low power vehicles like foot scooters operate in the street. The City’s regulatory framework is intended to be welcoming to new transportation options like motorized foot scooters, but requires networks to operate in an organized manner consistent with City rules.

The City has general authority to remove scooters found unattended and blocking traffic or public infrastructure, or otherwise compromising public safety. The new ordinance and license agreement provide more specific guidance to scooter companies and the public about local rules for scooter sharing in the public right-of-way, including on City sidewalks.

How many scooters are there in Minneapolis?

 
The 2019 pilot has been approved for an initial maximum of 2,000 scooters in Minneapolis, with between 2-4 companies participating in the pilot.  This number may be increased or decreased during the pilot, with the number of scooters operating in the city adjusted based on levels of demand and other considerations, such as safety incidents and frequency of customer and citizen complaints.  
 
There will also be distribution requirements in place as follows:
  • At least of 30% of scooter fleets (min 600) must be distributed throughout the Areas of Concentrated Poverty in Minneapolis (North, NE, South)
  • No more than 40% of scooter fleets (max 800) may be distributed to downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods (North Loop, DT East/West, Elliot Park, Loring Park)
  • The remaining 30% can be distributed according to companies approved application

What is the service area?

Scooters are capable of being ridden anywhere, including St. Paul or suburbs without restrictions, provided there is sufficient battery life. The rider is responsible for ensuring compliance with rules and laws outside of Minneapolis-controlled streets and sidewalks.

Currently, scooters that are left outside Minneapolis become unavailable once the rental is ended, and a subsequent rental cannot occur until it is returned to Minneapolis.

Where can people ride the scooters?

Scooter riding is regulated by state law. A summary of Minnesota Statute 169.225 is below, which outlines where motorized foot scooters can operate:

  • Must follow the same traffic laws as bicyclists
  • Cannot be ridden on the sidewalk 
  • Can be ridden in bike lanes, paths, and trails unless signs prohibit
  • Ride as close as is practicable to the right-hand side of the road

Where can people park scooters in Minneapolis?

Scooter parking is regulated by city ordinance and contractual rules for each rental company. Scooters must be parked upright and stabilized with a kickstand when not in use. Sidewalk parking is limited to allowed areas within the furnishing zone1, outside the pedestrian path of travel.

Scooters must not be parked in any location or manner that will impede normal and reasonable pedestrian traffic and/or access to:

  • Pedestrian ramps
  • Building/property entrances
  • Driveways
  • Loading zones
  • Disability parking and transfer zones
  • Transit stops
  • Crosswalks
  • Parklets
  • Street/sidewalk cafes
  • Other street furnishings (benches, parking meters, etc.)
  • Underground utility, sewer, or water facilities
  • Sidewalk clear zones2

1 The furnishing zone is the section of the sidewalk between the curb and the sidewalk clear zone in which street furnishings and amenities, such as lighting, benches, newspaper kiosks, utility poles, tree pits, and bicycle parking are provided.
2 The sidewalk clear zone is the accessible, primary pedestrian thoroughfare that runs parallel to the street.  The clear zone ensures that pedestrians have a safe, obstruction-free thoroughfare

How do I notify someone that a scooter has been knocked over, obstructing the sidewalk, or otherwise creating a nuisance or hazard?

You can call 311, and a city representative will route the issue directly to the appropriate company. Additionally, you can use the SeeClickFix app to open a case and document the issue.

You can also contact the scooter rental company. Each company is required to maintain dedicated customer support phone numbers and email addresses, which are noted on the scooters themselves. The goal for response time is within 2 hours of relocation request.

If the rental company is not responsive, or if there are circumstances which require quicker response, 311 can notify City staff who can relocate scooters and hold companies responsible for failure to follow parking rules.

Can I pick up or relocate a scooter if I don't intend to use it?

The City recommends reporting parking or obstruction complaints to either 311 or the company’s individual customer support number as shown on the scooter.

The scooter can be moved, however there is an audible signal that activates when picked up or moved without an active rental.

What if a scooter is damaged or inoperable?

Companies have contractors who can pick up and remove any scooters in need of repair or battery charging.

Damaged or inoperable scooters can be reported to the customer support line shown on the scooter itself, or by calling the City at 311.

How do I rent a scooter?

Scooter renters must download the scooter company’s app and enter into a rental agreement with specific terms and conditions. The company rental agreements currently require a photo of the customer’s driver’s license, a credit/debit/prepaid card number, and customer contact information.

Available scooters can be located by using the company app. The rental is initiated by tapping the “Ride” (or similar) button on the app and then using the app to scan the QR code located between the handlebars of the scooter.

Once an appropriate parking spot is found, the rental is ended by tapping the “End” (or similar) button on the app, and by taking a photo documenting the parking location.

What are the basic requirements to rent a scooter?

Most scooter companies currently rent to anyone age 18 or older, with a valid driver’s license and a credit, debit, or prepaid card.  Users are instructed to wear a helmet and to familiarize themselves with riding and parking rules.

What if I don't have a driver's license?

Although state law does not require a driver’s license to operate a motorized foot scooter in Minnesota, most companies require customers to have a driver’s license as part of their rental agreements.

Where can I find a copy of each company's rental agreement?

Rental agreements are available via the individual scooter company’s website.

What happens to scooters at night?

Companies are required to collect scooters starting at 10 p.m. The scooters may be re-deployed beginning at 5 a.m. the following day. This work is typically performed by local contractors who are hired, trained and paid by the scooter companies.

What happens when it snows or is icy?


The approved 2019 pilot agreement term runs through March of 2020. 
 
If riding conditions become unsafe after to November 30, the City may require suspension of operations temporarily or through the remainder of the pilot term. 

How will the City enforce parking and riding regulations?

Lime currently has agreements with the cities of Edina and Golden Valley to provide dockless bike sharing.

Minneapolis has a bike sharing ordinance that prohibits any bike sharing systems to be operated on City right-of-way without an agreement. The City currently has an exclusive license agreement with Nice Ride.

Lime bikes can be ridden to and through the City, however they cannot be left on City right-of-way. The City is currently working with Lime to ensure bikes are relocated back to either Edina or Golden Valley, and to prevent Lime bikes from being left on City right-of-way.

 

To report issues with scooters, please contact 311.

 

 

Last updated Apr 17, 2019

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