Shared Micromobility in Austin

Photo of E-Scooter and Bicycle Parking in Austin. Shows a parking station nearest the curb on the sidewalk with 2 scooters within the parking area.

What is Micromobility?

Micromobility (previously known as dockless mobility) refers to scooters, skateboards, or other compact devices designed for personal mobility. These devices are often electric and can be either privately owned or part of a shared micromobility service. City Council adopted an ordinance regarding bicycle and micromobility use on May 23, 2019. Micromobility is distinct from bikeshare and personally owned bicycles. It also does not describe electric personal assistive mobility devices, such as electric wheelchairs, or medical devices.

Next, City Council will be discussing franchise creation standards for shared micromobility in September 2019 (tentative). We are gathering comments about micromobility in Austin below.

A Dockless Mobility Community Survey was open for public feedback throughout the month of August 2018. Download the community survey results.

Upcoming Micromobility Items at City Council

in September 2019 (tentatively), City Council will discuss franchise creation standards with regard to the regulation of shared micromobility.

Using Shared Micromobility Services

People who plan to use shared micromobility services should do so in a safe and ethical manner. Please follow these guidelines to help keep Austin moving safely.

  • Pedestrians First - Yield to people walking on sidewalks.
  • Park Responsibly - Park in a secure, upright position in designated areas, such as furniture zones of sidewalks, public bike racks and other marked parking zones. On sidewalks, give at least 3 feet of clearance for accessibility.
  • Stay on Right of Way - Do not take devices to unauthorized areas, such as private property, parkland, or state-owned land, unless otherwise authorized.
  • Know What You're Sharing - Users have access to micromobility services without having to share Personally Identifiable Information and can opt in to data sharing only after getting clear information about what data will be shared.
  • Right and Report - If you see a unit toppled over or parked improperly, help out by righting the unit and reporting the issue to Austin 3-1-1.

Shared Micromobility Issues? Report It Using the Austin 3-1-1 App

When a micromobility issue is reported through the Austin 3-1-1 app, the City of Austin will route it directly to the company that owns the bike or scooter in question. With your request, you can include a photo and location along with a description of the issue, the name of the company that owns the bike or scooter, and the color of the unit. Users can download the app from the Google Play Store or iTunes Store. Users with Blackberry, Palm, Nokia and Windows Mobile devices can access it at 311.austintexas.gov. You can also contact Austin 3-1-1 by phone.

What is Micromobility?

Micromobility (previously known as dockless mobility) refers to scooters, skateboards, or other compact devices designed for personal mobility. These devices are often electric and can be either privately owned or part of a shared micromobility service. City Council adopted an ordinance regarding bicycle and micromobility use on May 23, 2019. Micromobility is distinct from bikeshare and personally owned bicycles. It also does not describe electric personal assistive mobility devices, such as electric wheelchairs, or medical devices.

Next, City Council will be discussing franchise creation standards for shared micromobility in September 2019 (tentative). We are gathering comments about micromobility in Austin below.

A Dockless Mobility Community Survey was open for public feedback throughout the month of August 2018. Download the community survey results.

Upcoming Micromobility Items at City Council

in September 2019 (tentatively), City Council will discuss franchise creation standards with regard to the regulation of shared micromobility.

Using Shared Micromobility Services

People who plan to use shared micromobility services should do so in a safe and ethical manner. Please follow these guidelines to help keep Austin moving safely.

  • Pedestrians First - Yield to people walking on sidewalks.
  • Park Responsibly - Park in a secure, upright position in designated areas, such as furniture zones of sidewalks, public bike racks and other marked parking zones. On sidewalks, give at least 3 feet of clearance for accessibility.
  • Stay on Right of Way - Do not take devices to unauthorized areas, such as private property, parkland, or state-owned land, unless otherwise authorized.
  • Know What You're Sharing - Users have access to micromobility services without having to share Personally Identifiable Information and can opt in to data sharing only after getting clear information about what data will be shared.
  • Right and Report - If you see a unit toppled over or parked improperly, help out by righting the unit and reporting the issue to Austin 3-1-1.

Shared Micromobility Issues? Report It Using the Austin 3-1-1 App

When a micromobility issue is reported through the Austin 3-1-1 app, the City of Austin will route it directly to the company that owns the bike or scooter in question. With your request, you can include a photo and location along with a description of the issue, the name of the company that owns the bike or scooter, and the color of the unit. Users can download the app from the Google Play Store or iTunes Store. Users with Blackberry, Palm, Nokia and Windows Mobile devices can access it at 311.austintexas.gov. You can also contact Austin 3-1-1 by phone.

Q&A

  • What about insurance for these scooter users? In July I was hit by a scooter and Limes stance is that if you are hit by a scooter your insurance should pay for their users damages since the City Of Austin does not require them is be insured when they are at fault. The current insurance policy only protects their users if they get hurt on the scooter but not the damage their users can inflict on the residents of Ausitn. Why is this okay for a commercial company to not have a insurance plan in place for damages their users create? My car damages were $1,500 with a $500 deductible I had to pay for and I do even use these scooters. This is unacceptable.

    mf1083 asked 2 months ago

    The assignment of liability is civil legal process, raised by the individual(s) who allege damages were caused to their body or property.  Each instance is taken on its own merits, with its own set of causes and circumstances.

  • How do we as residents get involved with bring some type of order to these Companies since its been a year plus and still no regulatory action by the city of austin? UT and Saint Ed's have taken action why not the COA that allowed these? Also are apps the best way to teach users how to use and operate a scooter? Would you teach your kid how to drive a car through a app. Why should we with scooters do the same?

    mf1083 asked 2 months ago

    There are items being proposed to City Council on May 23 that address the City’s authority to regulate shared micro-mobility services in public right of way. Proposed Ordinance 12-2 provides regulatory language for the operation of shared micro-mobility devices. Austin Transportation Department will coordinate with City Council to promote educational outreach programming.

  • Why is the City of Austin passing this off as a good for the environment? Currently we are on generation 4 of scooters. Typically these vehicles get destroyed or stolen 2 months into use. With the amount of raw materials needed to produce one scooter it seems that this would make them not environmentally friendly even though the emissions are clean. Also does the CIty of Austin keep track of the additional miles offset by juicers deploying and collecting scooters? It seems this would offset any green benefit. It also seems that the scooter companies idea of a acceptable lost rate goes against being green. Think of how many more scooter we could of keep out of the land fill if the companies didn't just dump them but took care of their devices. I see about 10 to 15 scooters a day completely destroyed in the streets. Also were their any studies done to see if rental cars or taxi services were offset by the scooters?

    mf1083 asked 2 months ago

    You may contact the companies to learn more about their process for disposing of damaged devices. Typically, the most sensitive element of a micro-mobility device is the lithium-ion battery.  Section 4- Safety J. of the Director’s Rules states, “Licensees operating electric-assist units shall have a program to ensure proper recycling of batteries and disposal of these batteries under Universal Waste Battery disposal standards under Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in part 273.”

  • If you get hit by a scooter who covers your medical bills? I've seen about 20 to 30 scooters every time I go run the Roy Ann Butler hike and bike trail. Who's responsible if you get hit on that trail and what is the city do to prevent this from happening? The signs the Austin parks and rec put out get stolen or people don't read them just like the rules in the app. How do we get the companies to enforce this or is this the job of the city which is not happening?

    mf1083 asked 2 months ago

    Under the proposed Ordinance 12-2, riders are obligated to stop and identify themselves if they injure another person or damage property. The assignment of liability is a civil legal process, raised by the individual(s) that allege damages were caused to their body or property.  Each instance is taken on its own merits, with its own set of causes and circumstances. Austin Transportation Department is working with Austin Parks and Recreation Department to increase signage and enforcement on trails.

  • How do you ID a scooter after being hit if the person takes off? The current ID tags are the size of a match box on the handlebars. You currently have to be at least a foot away from the id tag to even read it. Since its on top of the handlebars its also most impossible to read if you were hit. On top of this Lime told me that they shut off the gps once the device is rented, making it impossible to track down the users without the ID tag. I was hit in July by a lime. A license plate the equal size of a motorcycle plate would be a fair compromise.

    mf1083 asked 2 months ago

    All companies currently permitted to operate in Austin have geo-locating equipment that may aid law enforcement in an investigation. Riders who cause harm to another person or to property are responsible for their actions.  Individuals injured or harmed must hold the individual responsible accountable in a court of law. Riders are fined based on a specific violation of a law or ordinance.  Bodily damage to a person or property could have wide, varying ranges in value, which cannot be adequately captured in the text of an ordinance.  All riders or drivers who cause harm to others are not always held criminally liable but may be held civilly liable. As is the case with many motor vehicle crashes, those who have incurred damages they wish to be compensated for must file a lawsuit against the person(s) who caused those damages.

  • Lately I've seen kids or babies on scooters doubled up with a parent. How come this currently is allowed in Austin when its against the rules set forth by the companies? Would APD look the other way if it was a child was without a car seat riding in car? Kids and babies should be protected from these devices.

    mf1083 asked 2 months ago

    Users agree to terms of use and requirements for rental as outlined by the licensed operators of shared mobility services. We urge the community to comply with these user agreements. Under the proposed Ordinance 12-2, there are provisions that state a child is not permitted to operate or ride a micro-mobility device unless they are wearing a helmet and that multiple riders may not operate a micro-mobility device unless it is specifically manufactured and designed to accommodate multiple riders.

  • What can be done to get the police to enforce traffic infractions such as but not limited to: operating one of these vehicles on a public walkway?, Running red lights, driving the wrong way, staying to the right side of the roadway (like bicycles are supposed to do), not wearing protective headgear. This entails two different questions, first, what laws can be enforced and what needs to be amended to provide safety for these vehicles, and second, how to get the police to enforce these laws since they currently don't even bother to enforce current jaywalking laws in the downtown and campus areas.

    loneagle asked 2 months ago

    There are proposed items for discussion going to City Council on May 23, two of which regard the safe operation of micromobility devices (scooters, bicycles and similar devices) and the City’s authority to regulate shared micromobility services in public right of way. These policies would provide clearer regulations to be enforced on our streets and sidewalks. Currently, scooters are allowed where bicycles are allowed and are subject to the same traffic laws, and we encourage people to use bicycle lanes if they are available.

  • 1. Why are scooters allowed on sidewalks? Scooter users aren't walking, they're motoring around pedestrians. They should use bike lanes, as they are wheeled transportation. 2. Why aren't scooter companies penalized more for their products left blocking sidewalks? Wheelchair users, in particular, lose access to sidewalks when they cannot pass. Why are scooter users enjoying convenience and fun privileged more than other citizens? Austin, wake up!

    Jeanne Devine asked 3 months ago

    Preserving accessibility for our Austin community members of all abilities is part of our mission to keep Austin safe and mobile, which is why we have been educating the public on how to use mobility services in a respectful manner. Scooters are allowed where bicycles are allowed, and we encourage people to use bicycle lanes if they are available. If on a sidewalk, scooter users should be mindful of their speed and yield to people on foot.

    The City of Austin has measures in place to coordinate with dockless mobility companies to address issues where public pathways are blocked, and will directly handle situations in which devices are left in a way that threatens safety.

  • Why are we welcoming these environmental hazards in Austin? People who don't like them regularly throw them into waterways. How many of those batteries are leaking into Lady Bird Lake and creeks? This needs to be considered before we welcome these as a permanent feature in Austin.

    apancake asked 3 months ago

    Environmental sustainability is an essential goal for Austin as it continues to grow. It is important to diversify our transportation options away from driving alone in vehicles as a key strategy to managing traffic congestion and protecting our environment, such as our air quality. With this sustainability goal in mind, we discourage litter in waterways. The City has processes in place to communicate with dockless mobility companies to retrieve devices from waterways.