Today, the City of Knoxville launches an electric scooter pilot program with the first of two companies selected through a competitive process.
Zagster, which operates the local Pace bike-sharing program, put its Spin scooters on downtown streets Wednesday, in advance of this weekend’s Big Ears Festival. VeoRide will introduce its scooters in the coming weeks.
Both companies are the first electric scooter-sharing companies to provide services following a moratorium that allowed City officials time to review best practices and provide some guidance for a program.
“We have taken our time to learn from other cities and feel we have selected two companies that will be flexible and responsive to the needs of Knoxville,” said Mayor Madeline Rogero.
Initially, the electric scooters will be staged across downtown and major residential and commercial corridors.
“We’ve seen amazing success with Pace Bike Share and anticipate scooters to be welcomed by our community with similar excitement,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville.
Per the pilot program rules and City ordinances, electric scooters must be ridden in the streets and are not allowed on sidewalks or greenways. Electric scooters will be treated similar to bicycles ridden on city roads.
All details around the operations of the pilot program will be subject to change as the program evolves.
The scooters can be ridden on many downtown streets, but not currently on Market Square, Cumberland Avenue, or Henley Bridge.
The Spin App provides uses with a map of areas where electric scooters are permitted. If a rider approaches the border of the approved area, the scooter will provide a warning to turn around or change direction or slow to a stop.
Riders must be 18 years of age, or 13-17 with adult permission and supervision. A valid identification indicating age will be required to rent a scooter.
Scooters can travel at a maximum of 15 mph, but speeds may be lowered or restricted remotely based on special events.
Currently, scooter availability is 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and dependent on the weather and events. Rain, or the threat of rain, may make rentals unavailable.
Spin and VeoRide will each provide an initial supply of 250 electric scooters and will adjust supply based on demand.
Scooters should be parked upright and out of the way of pedestrians or moving vehicles. Users are encouraged to park scooters adjacent to Pace bike stations or public bicycle racks.
The companies are responsible for moving, recharging and restaging the scooters throughout the day.
Individuals who misuse a scooter or park the scooter in a position that impedes pedestrian, bicycle, or motor vehicle traffic may be fined or ticketed.
The pilot program is for one year, which can be renewed. The City, or the companies, may end the pilot agreement with 30 days’ notice.