What code changes are the City considering?
First, we are introducing a new class of vehicle into code. The term it will fall under will potentially be “Micro-mobility device.” A definition for this vehicle class is being created. By defining a new vehicle class, rules and regulations that make sense for small, lightweight, human and/or electric-powered devices can be applied.
We are also considering enabling micro-mobility devices, such as e-scooters, to operate on shared-use paths, including the river paths. If we do so, we may require that devices slow down. This could potentially happen automatically through GPS technology and geofencing. (Geofencing refers to the creation of a virtual geographic boundary that triggers software to respond when a mobile device enters or leaves a designated area.)
How will the City determine which company(ies) will be allowed to operate?
The City will create and publish a Request for Proposals (RFP). THE RFP will state the rules and regulations an e-scooter operating company will have to adhere to if they are selected to operate in Eugene. It will also ask the operating companies to submit plans for how they intend to execute certain business functions. Examples of business functions include maintenance, recharging and redistributing devices, and engaging with the community for safe-riding education.
After the submission period for proposals concludes, the City will use an established set of criteria to score each application. These criteria will be informed by city policy and community input. For instance, to meet the goals of the Climate Recovery Ordinance, companies that will not use gasoline-powered vehicles to redistribute scooters will score higher on that aspect than companies that will.
How can the City ensure that bad parking and riding behavior does not occur?
First, we could require in device design specifications that e-scooters be equipped with lock-to mechanisms and unique identification numbers. Lock-to mechanisms allow e-scooters to attach to structures, like bike racks, to prevent them from being knocked over and scattered about. This then mitigates accessibility obstructions for persons with disabilities. Unique identification numbers on scooters promote a disincentive strategy by allowing reported incidents of improper parking to be connected to the most recent e-scooter user who would then be issued a fine or surcharge, much the same way that a car driver is held responsible for improper parking behavior.
Second, we could use geofencing paired with GPS locationality. Doing so would allow scooter users to be notified when they are attempting to park or ride in an undesignated area and direct them to the desired parking or riding location. This removes the guesswork for users, thus enhancing the probability of desired behaviors occurring.
Third, we can follow the financial incentive program modeled by our bikeshare program. When a scooter is parked in an undesired area, the user could be charged a fee. When a user returns an improperly parked scooter to a desired parking location, they could receive a credit in their account.
What state laws will be applied?
The state of Oregon requires that an electric scooter must:
- Have a maximum output of 1000 watts
- Be equipped with front and rear lights that are used when operating under limited visibility
- Not exceed an operating speed of 15mph
- Not operate on the sidewalk or in crosswalks
- Be allowed to operate on bike paths/lanes
- Not be used by persons younger than 16 years of age
- Not be used by persons without a helmet