Henrico County Shared Mobility Device Demonstration Project
Virginia law allows localities to regulate the operation of motorized skateboards, scooters, bicycles and electric power-assisted bicycles for hire by establishing a demonstration project. These devices are known as Shared Mobility Devices or SMDs when the companies renting them rely on the public right-of-way to store the devices for customer access and use. Localities also may require companies offering SMDs to be licensed.
Through its Police Division, Henrico County has established a demonstration project to gauge community interest in these devices, to evaluate safety implications and to assess the impact on neighborhoods and roadways.
To participate in this project, companies must submit a permit application, sign a memorandum of agreement and pay a $10,000 fee. Companies may offer SMDs for hire in Henrico only after receiving an approved permit from the county.
The demonstration project places various restrictions on the operation and rental of these devices to promote the safety of users and the public. For example, all devices must have headlights and taillights, and they may not be operated after dark. In addition, riders must be at least 18 years old and wear a helmet. Riders also are prohibited from wearing headphones or texting while operating a device. They also may not operate a device while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Furthermore, SMDs are subject to maximum operating speeds: 15 mph for electric bicycles and 10 mph for scooters. Riders may not use these devices on any roadway with a speed limit over 25 mph and may not cross any roadway with a speed limit of 35 mph or more.
The project restricts the parking of SMDs for safety reasons and to avoid inconveniencing residents. Riders may not leave devices on private property without permission of the property owner. They also may not leave devices where they obstruct a public right of way. Participating companies must maintain a customer service telephone number and a local, staffed operations center, and they must respond promptly to reports of improperly parked devices.
The demonstration project is designed to work with existing traffic safety laws and county ordinances. These include, for example, an ordinance that bans from sidewalks all vehicles other than bicycles, electric power-assisted bicycles or electric personal assistive mobility devices.
In addition to the permit fee, Henrico requires each participating company to provide proof of insurance with limits of $1,000,000 per occurrence and proof of a Virginia business license and a certificate of good standing.
Throughout this demonstration project, the county will gather ridership data from participating companies, including information about average trips, accidents and complaints about the use of devices. The county will use this information in its development of permanent regulations for the rental of these devices.
For more information, (804) 501-4861.