New DC law requires all riders to lock scooters and dockless bikes after use
Effective today, riders must lock scooters to bike rack, signpost or bike/scooter corral
Starting today, a new D.C. law requires electric scooter renters to lock scooters to racks or poles at least three feet from where pedestrians walk. Those who need a ride will be able to scan a QR code on the handlebar to release the lock.
“As of September 17, all Spin riders have been notified that at the end of their ride, they can use the Spin app to find the nearest parking location,” a Spin spokesperson wrote in an email to The Eagle.
Riders must lock their scooters and take a parking verification photo. Scooter rental companies will review the post-ride pictures within 24 hours and send notifications about unsatisfactory parking to riders through the app or via email, according to the law.
The legislation, which the D.C. Council passed unanimously, aims to avoid blocking sidewalks, building entrances, driveways, ADA access ramps and parking spots. Scooters cannot be locked to parking meters, bus shelters, private fences or gates, trees, Capital Bikeshare docks or garbage cans, according to a Spin spokesperson.
Some American University students, however, doubt that the new law will have much effect on increasing pedestrian safety. Henry Lavinder, a freshman in the School of International Service, is one such skeptic.
“People get really upset when you leave the [scooters] in the middle of the sidewalk, and I understand that, but I feel like this law wouldn’t really do much to avoid that,” said Lavinder, who rides Spin scooters multiple times a week. “The people that actually care are already setting their scooters aside, and the people that don’t are throwing them wherever.”
Other students feel that the law adds one more inconvenient step to scooter riders on campus.
“I feel like they’re going to be a lot more complicated,” said Caden Umansky, a freshman in the SIS. “Especially since they were so easy to just grab randomly and leave wherever you are going.”
The law requires that the District build additional bike racks over the next few years to accommodate the new locking rules. The Director of the District Department of Transportation is required to construct “at least 1,000 racks a year until 2025 for the parking of electric mobility devices,” according to the law.
Amelia Burke, a sophomore in the SIS, does not see a problem with the new law since there are many bike racks around D.C.
“Part of the law is adding that they would have to build more bike racks over the next couple of years, so I’m not that mad about it honestly,” said Burke, who rides scooters once a week. “It’ll be inconvenient, but it will end up being a net positive.”