E-scooter Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are these electric scooters I see on streets and sidewalks in Oakland?
Under state law, these are called “motorized scooters” (California Vehicle Code 407.5), but they are commonly referred to as “e-scooters.” They generally have two small wheels, a handlebar, a platform to stand on, and a small electric motor.
Shared e-scooters are the newest transportation option for getting around Oakland. They are useful for short trips, and have the potential to help achieve the goals of OakDOT’s Strategic Plan, which calls for expanding access to shared mobility services, improving transportation choices, and minimizing parking demand, congestion and pollution. However, when used improperly e-scooters can obstruct sidewalks, curb ramps, and other portions of the public right-of-way. OakDOT is actively monitoring the use of shared scooters and is in the process of developing a permit system to regulate how they are used.
2. Who owns and operates these e-scooters?
E-scooters are owned and operated by private companies offering shared scooter programs. Riders can unlock a scooter via the company’s mobile phone application, use it for a short trip, and park it at their destination where other users can unlock them. Scooters are ideal for short trips and are meant to be used by many different people per day. For more information, visit the respective companies’ websites.
3. Where are people allowed to ride and park e-scooters?
E-scooter users are required to follow the rules of the road. Under state law, motorized scooter users should:
· Ride in the street, and stay to the right. (California Vehicle Code 21228.)
· Use the bike lane if there is one. If the street has a posted speed limit greater than 25 mph, they must be ridden in a bike lane. (California Vehicle Code 21229.)
· Not ride on sidewalks.
Scooters are allowed to ride on multi-use pathways, such as the Lake Merritt Trail (California Vehicle Code 21230.)
Scooters may be parked on sidewalks, so long as they do not block driveways, building entrances, curb ramps, color curbs (such as blue zones or yellow zones) or utilities such as fire hydrants. Make sure to leave at least 6 feet of sidewalk space for people walking or rolling.
4. What other rules or laws apply to these e-scooters?
Under state law, to use an e-scooter you must have a California Driver’s License or instruction permit, and wear a bike helmet. Only one person may use a motorized scooter at a time, and you can’t carry packages while using a motorized scooter (California Vehicle Code 21235). In addition to these state law requirements, OakDOT is developing a permit system to regulate scooter share programs within the city. The permit system is expected to be in place in fall 2018.
5. How do you use one of these E-scooters?
Visit the owner/operator’s website to learn how to use the respective e-scooters available in Oakland.
6. How do I report a problem or a concern?
Questions and concerns about the services themselves should be directed to the customer service representative of each respective company.
Complaints of improperly-parked scooters can also be submitted through OAK 311. Complaints will be forwarded to the appropriate company representative.
7. How much do the e-scooters cost? Is the City getting money from these scooters?
Each company sets their own prices. Users typically pay by the mile or by the minute.
The City has not yet granted any permits for shared e-scooter services or received any revenue from them.
8. What about bikes?
Shared bicycles are available in Oakland through the regional Ford GoBike program. Click here for more information.