Scooters coming to Charleston in the next two weeks


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Apr 01, 2023

Scooters coming to Charleston in the next two weeks

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Upon Charleston entering into an agreement with the

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Upon Charleston entering into an agreement with the electric scooter rental company, Bird last month, the scooters will now be making their way into the city in the next couple of weeks.

Charleston City Councilmember, Emmett Pepper made the announcement on WCHS Radio's 580 LIVE Tuesday, adding that it's a reawakening of scooters into the capitol city.

"For some reason, back in 2003 in the Segway year, they became illegal, so we legalized them last year, and over the past several months we’ve been speaking with Bird, which is as far as I know, the only company that's ever offered them in West Virginia, to have rental scooters," Pepper said.

Pepper said the scooters will work by downloading the app, uploading a drivers license or other photo ID showing that the rider is over the age of 18, putting in credit or debit card information, using the GPS tool on the app to locate a scooter, scanning the QR code on the scooter, and waiting for the light to turn green for use.

He said it will be a beneficial way to explore the area, particularly for newcomers and tourists as they make their way around to landmarks such as the capitol, or to restaurants and hotels.

"This is a great way to see the city, pretty inexpensive way, you just go over, tool around, check it out, and then come back to your hotel, go to some restaurants downtown, that kind of thing," he said.

However, Pepper said there are obviously a few technicalities and safety regulations that will come with the new additions, and if riders don't follow these rules, they can face up to a $500 fine.

First, he said it's illegal to ride the scooters on sidewalks as they are only intended for pedestrians and not motorized vehicles.

Pepper said to also stay to the right when riding the scooters and don't make sudden movements as it might confuse and distract drivers.

In addition, he said to go the right way in the direction of traffic, especially if it's a one-way street, and when parking them, make sure they are out of the way of pedestrians and cars.

"It's going to be important that people know the rules, do it safely, and do it in the right way," said Pepper.

Pepper said the city will have control of where to ride and park the scooters and where not to. The scooters are not allowed to be operated on streets with speed limits of more than 35 mph, and they will slow down and eventually not work if they are taken out of the designated areas.

He also said there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about the scooters, such as people just being able to take them off the street and ride them, but he said that is not the case, as they must be scanned in order to operate.

He said he will be further suggesting a strict enforcement period of the rules for the scooters to city council as the initiative gets off the ground.

"Obviously it's not a top priority, like the biggest problem we focus on, but I’ve asked for the City of Charleston police department to do some enforcement early, because we want people to do this the right way," Pepper said.

He said to not overwhelm the streets with the scooters and make the initiative a success, the city has placed a 150-scooter limit.

Pepper said, starting out, they will be located on the East end and the West side of the city, and may eventually move on to Kanawha City.