Lime Vehicles Company/DDOT Faulted for Disregard of Public Safety
By Larry Janezich
Posted October 25, 2022
Some Hill East residents have had enough with Electric Vehicles Company distributors casually disregarding public safety by parking scooters for pick up on sidewalks and – shockingly – in handicapped pedestrian ramps.
DC law requires scooter riders to lock electric scooters to bike racks, scooter corrals, or signposts after use and has rules for how companies can distribute vehicles.
Shared Fleet Device Parking Area: the following areas where shared fleet devices may be parked, provided that a minimum 3-foot clear zone for pedestrians is maintained at all times:
- On a public sidewalk;
- In the public right-of-way between the sidewalk and the curb; and
- At a bike rack, if the bike rack is located in the public right-of-way but somewhere other than a public sidewalk, or the public right-of-way between the sidewalk and the curb.
Neither the law nor the regulations appear to be enforced against the company or users.
Hill East resident Mark Ugoretz called attention to this transgression by posting the above photo taken last night in an email distributed to CM Charles Allen and others.
Ugoretz’s suggestion is that the “The District should levy a $500 fine against the scooter and/or bicycle company for any scooter or bicycle left on the sidewalk in such a way as to hinder pedestrian passage. Moreover, the District should pick up scooters left unlawfully in the sidewalk and not return the scooters until the fine has been paid….The rule would apply to all scooter and bicycle rental companies.”
While appealing, a solution along the lines suggested above may not be that easy. The problem is that the China-made scooters cost much less than the suggested fine. https://bit.ly/3N5Bnz8
CM Allen responded, thanking Ugoretz and agreeing that “this is not allowed and is extremely dangerous/hazardous for anyone needing use of that ramp. And I think you’re also right, given the neat line up, this wasn’t a coincidence of riders arriving at the same location, but they were placed there by someone relocating scooters…DDOT is supposed to be responsible for monitoring the permits of all scooter companies and enforce when an operator is acting out of compliance – which includes financial penalties or impacts on their permit applications. I’ve added Mr. Diallo [Ward 6 DOT rep] from DDOT, as well as the general mailbox for dockless scooters at DDOT, to this email. Through this, and your note, I’d ask that they report this through their channels for follow-up and enforcement of the infractions noted in your email.”
Here’s the email address for DC DOT Shared Fleet to register concerns: email@example.com
a suggestion by Ugoretz that Allen be further engaged because “he’s in charge,” Allen responded:
“…I definitely appreciate the sentiment, but sadly I am not in charge of scooters. The Mayor and Department of Transportation are in charge of enforcing the rules put in place by the Council. The Council set forth many requirements – none of which seem to be adhered to in the picture you sent and in my mind represent a serious violation. The Council also set up a structure to levy fines to the company when not adhered to, but DDOT must issue them. DDOT has set up a mechanism to report violations like this for their follow-up, which is who I added to those earlier emails. I saw your note Mark referring to “channels”, but I’m not clear what you mean. DDOT is in charge of enforcement, citing, and holding any company accountable. I do not have any mechanism to levy fines or citations myself. That’s why I included the DDOT representatives on the email and I’ll continue to press them to do the job they’ve been tasked with when you, I, or any neighbor sees a violation like this. Thanks and let’s try to work for some collaboration on improving this.”
And here’s the email of the Mayor’s Ward 6 DDOT representative, referenced above: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 responses to “Electric Vehicle Company/DDOT Faulted for Disregard of Public Safety”
This is not new. It’s been going on since they were first allowed on our streets and sidewalks. It’s also no surprise since DC politicians made the decision to allow them without putting in place any program that would actually work to ensure the providers and riders comply with the rules. How many of us have been nearly run over by a scooter on a sidewalk when a label on it clearly informs the rider not to ride on sidewalks. And the threatening look from some riders when you object to them almost hitting you? It’s no surprise that CM Allen continues to focus on bureaucratic process that fail rather than human behavior (Ed. Note> The original post on Capitol Hill Corner has been updated, q.v.)
Charles Allen is “in charge” in the sense that he’s on the city council.
Instead, he blames the mayor and DDOT and issues classic run-around statement: “Through this, and your note, I’d ask that they report this through their channels for follow-up and enforcement of the infractions noted in your email.” English please.
By the way, Councilman Allen’s remark “sadly I am not in charge of scooters” is as ill-informed as it is hapless. Per the Home Rule Act, the City Council “shall have power to investigate any matter relating to the affairs of the District.” That about covers the waterfront, including scooters blocking public sidewalks.
As well, the councilman’s own website promises, “Our Constituent Services team is eager to help you solve a problem or make your block better!” Doesn’t say, “sorry, we don’t do scooters!”
C’mon—it’s not passing the buck–it’s informing folks where the buck is! CM Allen can’t fine ’em, you can’t fine ’em and I can’t fine ’em-but the CM can tell those “buck-ers” at DDOT (sorry, I couldn’t resist) that THEY can fine ’em and ought at least wake up and starting doing THEIR enforcing job. AND we can expect the CM to keep bugging them ’til they do