Motorized Foot Scooters
The City recently launched a motorized foot scooter pilot program that will run through November 30, 2018, with 400 electric scooters available for shared use throughout Minneapolis. Users download an app on their smartphone to locate and rent the scooters. See below for more information and frequently asked questions.
To report issues with scooters, please contact 311.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a motorized foot scooter?
MN Statute (169.011) defines a motorized foot scooter as a device with handlebars, and not more than two 12-inch or smaller diameter wheels, designed to be stood or sat by the operator. It is powered by an internal combustion engine or electric motor, with a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
Starting in 2017, companies began introducing networks of shared motorized foot scooters, allowing users to rent scooters for a period of time in exchange for some form of payment. Shared scooter networks are primarily free-floating, allowing users to find and rent available scooters via smartphone app.
Are motorized foot 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 the City of Minneapolis’ regulatory approach to scooter rentals?
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?
There are currently a total of 200 scooters being piloted in Minneapolis, with Bird and Lime operating 100 each. 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.
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 zone , 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
- Loading zones
- Disability parking and transfer zones
- Transit stops
- Street/sidewalk cafes
- Other street furnishings (benches, parking meters, etc.)
- Underground utility, sewer, or water facilities
- Sidewalk clear zones
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.
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?
Both 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” 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” button on the app, and by taking a photo documenting the parking location.
What are the basic requirements to rent a scooter?
Both Bird and Lime 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, both Bird and Lime 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 each company’s website.
Bird - www.bird.co
Lime - www.limebike.com
What happens to the scooters at night?
Each company is required to collect scooters starting at dusk. The scooters may be re-deployed beginning at dawn of the following day. This work is typically performed by local contractors who are hired, trained, and paid by the scooter companies.
What will happen to scooters when it snows or is icy?
The current City pilot agreement term ends on November 30, 2018, at which point all existing operations will be suspended until Spring of 2019.
If riding conditions become unsafe prior to November 30, 2018, the City may require suspension of operations through the remainder of the pilot term.
I’ve also seen bikes with Lime’s logo, what are those?
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.
Last updated Oct 3, 2018