Scooter ride-sharing banned in Nags Head

Nags Head Commissioners voted to prohibit any e-scooter ride-share programs within town limits during their October 3 regular session meeting.

Being promoted as an exciting answer to short distance transportation issues, e-scooters are battery operated motor vehicles with an operating range of up to 20 miles and capable of moving along at about 15 miles per hour, a speed similar to that of a serious bicyclist. With California companies LimeBike and Bird expanding nationally, the devices are already in larger North Carolina municipalities like Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh.

A self-service program with powered scooters for hire, riders can locate a vehicle in the area through a free phone app and be on their way in a matter of moments. Using them, however, is not free. After downloading the app, users need to scan their driver’s license, add a credit card and pay $1 to unlock a bike, along with per-minute use fees of 15 or 20 cents depending on location.

Although both companies set guidelines for use and advertise working closely with cities to help make transportation better and more environmentally friendly with zero cost to a city, the reality is proving to be a little different.

“From what I’ve read,” said Mayor Ben Cahoon, “the business model seems to be a mass drop of scooters without any prior discussion into an area, which forces the community to use its own resources to figure out what the rules need to be and to clean up the problem.”

In August, the Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend that these programs be prohibited within the town due to a growing number of concerns about safety, local oversight and maintenance. These concerns included no local business office or staff, limited education provided on the use of the scooter, helmets being recommended but not required or provided, no guidance specific to the municipality on where the scooters can be operated and no plan in place to address where these scooters are to be dropped off or will be stored during inclement weather.

With no established docking stations, people are free to leave the devices almost anywhere.

Citing safety concerns, no enforceable rules on how or where they should be ridden, no inclement weather plan and the fact that they cannot be used on the town’s multi-use paths, the board adopted an ordinance that defined “powered scooter” and then prohibited them. During discussion, however, it was mentioned that the door was not closed on the idea, provided such a company would contact the town to work out any related details and issues before setting up shop.

A number of other cities across the country have already banned e-scooters and several, including Nashville and Virginia Beach, have impounded them until they could develop regulations.

Lifestyles

Run, white and blue: Barrier Island Group launches Independence Day run

Currituck

$83 million budget approved in Currituck; tax increases for residents

News

Dare school board calls for public hearing on early college

News

Quick response to Rodanthe fire call

News

Going up: Weekly gas price update for North Carolina

Currituck

Learn canning techniques in Currituck Extension’s food preservation series

News

Name released for Ohio 18-year-old reported dead in Nags Head after being pulled from ocean

Currituck

Wreck on U.S. 158 results in fatality

News

Manteo commissioners approve zoning change

News

Colington home damaged in late night fire, four displaced

News

Nags Head adopts 2024-25 budget with no tax, water rate increases

Currituck

Newns appointed to State Emergency Response Commission

Lifestyles

Newly hatched chicks spotted along Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Business

30 years in the making: Surf Dog’s Hot Sauce now available in stores

News

Coast Guard activates AIS-ATON in Oregon Inlet bar; local mariners encouraged to provide feedback

News

Ohio 18-year-old reported dead after being pulled from ocean in Nags Head

Lifestyles

Two leatherback turtle nests found along Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Business

Planted in the heart of downtown: Friends open curated garden shop in Manteo

Lifestyles

Fourth of July festivities planned throughout area

Crime

Hit-and-run leaves pedestrian in critical condition, driver facing multiple charges

Currituck

Currituck County receives America 250 NC grant

News

Fatal crash claims lives of two Manteo women

Currituck

Terrarium workshop set at Currituck Extension

News

Water, boating safety stressed ahead of Fourth of July