Charlottesville has developed a pilot project to provide structure to the operation and use of Dockless Bicycles and Electric Scooters (aka Dockless Mobility Devices) to evaluate their impacts. Dockless Mobility Devices include pedal bikes, electric-assist bikes (e-bikes), and electric-assist scooters (e-scooters) that do not require a station.
To date the city has approved two operators:
- Lime - 100 scooters and 40 electric bikes
- Bird - 100 scooters **Bird has voluntarily suspended operations ** (effective June 2019)
June 2019 update: The City Council approved an extension of Charlottesville's demonstration project for dockless mobility through Dec. 18, 2019
During this pilot project, the City invites the community to provide feedback on these new mobility options, including ideas and opinions on the direction the City should take with future regulations, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The City Council approved this pilot program at its November 5, 2018, meeting. Interested companies must submit the following documents to be considered for the pilot program.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following frequently asked questions are intended to provide some guidance for the public on the use of these devices in Charlottesville:
- Who owns the devices (i.e. scooters and bikes)?
These devices belong to private companies. If there are questions, concerns or complaints, please contact the operator directly. Lime’s contact number is 1-888-LIME (5463)-345 and Bird's contact number is 1-866-205-2442 and this information is visible on the device. As a condition of their permit, once the company is notified of an issue, they are required to rectify the situation in 2 hours.
- Are these devices legal in Charlottesville?
Until the development of the pilot program, there were no regulations in place to prohibit the operation and use of these devices in Charlottesville. With the approved pilot program, City staff can regulate the number of devices, their top speeds, and other operational elements.
- Are these scooters and bikes part of the Ubike program?
No. The devices are provided by private entities separate from the University-owned U-Bike Bikeshare system.
- What is the top speed of these devices?
The pilot requires that speeds be limited to 15 mph.
- How many devices will come to Charlottesville?
With the launch of the pilot , operators that the City permits are allowed an initial maximum fleet size of 100 devices per mode (i.e. pedal bikes and e-scooters). If an operator is able to demonstrate sufficient demand for their devices (i.e. an average of 4+ trips/device/day over a calendar month) and parking compliance, they may petition the City for additional devices during the pilot. Electric bikes are exempt from the fleet size cap.
Similarly, if these devices achieve less than 2 trips/device/day, the City may require the operator to reduce its fleet size.
- What can I do if an bicycle or scooter is left on my property and I want it removed? How about if either is left blocking a sidewalk?
If you are capable of moving the improperly-parked device to a proper location, you may do so. The bikes and e-scooters are relatively easy to move.
Or you may call the company to request they remove it. Lime’s contact number is 1-888-LIME (5463)-345 and Bird's contact number is 1-866-205-2442 and this information is visible on the device. As a condition of their permit, once the company is notified of an issue, they are required to rectify the situation in 2 hours.
Using Scooters and Dockless Bikes
- If I want to try one, how do I do it?
These devices are accessed using company-specific apps. Download the app onto your smartphone, complete the registration and payment information process, and the app will provide you access to that company’s devices.
- Where should I park at the end of my trip?
Be considerate every time you park, by not obstructing pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Some companies may enforce penalties on users that consistently park devices in improper ways, including banning users from devices entirely.
Some specific parking tips include:
- Do not block travel lanes
- Do not block driveways
- Do not block fire hydrants
- Do not block walkways
- Do not block sidewalk curb ramps
- Do not block pedestrian call buttons
- Do not block bus stops
- Do not block entrances to buildings, including near ramp or walkway railings and ADA door push buttons
Additionally, do not park on private property unless the company specifically allows it at a certain location.
- Where can I ride?
E-scooters are allowed to be ridden on streets, but not on sidewalks or trails.
E-bikes are allowed to be ridden on streets, but not on trails.
Pedal bikes are allowed to be ridden on streets and trails. All of these devices are NOT to be ridden on the bricked portion of the Downtown Mall, the Corner, or Court Square.
- Do pedal bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters have different traffic laws?
Pedal bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters must abide by the same laws as motor vehicles in terms of obeying posted traffic regulations, signs and signals.
- Can I ride from Charlottesville into neighboring municipalities or vice versa?
Possibly, but we don't recommend it.
- Do I have to wear a helmet?
City Code requires those 14 years of age and younger to wear a helmet when operating a bicycle or scooter. However, several operators require their users to wear helmets when operating their devices. Check with each company’s requirements before beginning your trip.
If you do not own a helmet and would like one, they are generally available for purchase at any bike shop and online. Several operators also provide free or low-cost helmets to users that request them.