Shared Micromobility in Austin

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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.

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

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.

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

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.

If you have any comments regarding dockless mobility in Austin, please leave them here. 

A Lawyer Explains Why Electric Scooter Laws Don’t WorkBird, Lime, and other shared micromobility services are disrupting the legal landscape, too. https://www.citylab.com/perspective/2019/06/electric-scooters-dockless-regulations-liability-helmet-laws/592861/?utm_source=newsletter&silverid=%25%25RECIPIENT_ID%25%25&utm_campaign=citylab-daily-newsletter&utm_medium=email

geigreg 5 months ago

I think scooters are great! They provide another form of transportation that keeps more cars off the road which lowers emissions and reduces traffic. While scooter riders may not be as experienced as the typical bike rider, they operate effectively the same way on the roadway, so what's the harm? I think the city is doing a great job identifying parking areas for these scooters, which I see as the biggest issues this new mode of transportation presents. I think continued partnership will be key to mitigate any parking issues. My only other issue issue is not with the scooters, but the people who ride them riding them on sidewalks. The scooter companies need to continue to educate their patrons that the roadway or bike lanes should be used. As I said before, this issue is not unique to scooters. Bikes do the same thing, especially less experienced bike riders.

anon 6 months ago

I LOVE scooters. Environmentally friendly, fun to ride, reduces congestion, fabulous last-mile solution. Dedicated bike/scooter lanes would address many of the legitimate gripes about the usage. We need more innovative transportation solutions, not fewer.

jkull71 6 months ago

This kind of Mobility is just not right for Austin. We need to stop the flow of this kind of dangerous mode of transportation. Who ever started this I have no question is not from Austin, Maybe from some other state up north or very far west , This kind of stuff don't work here in this kind of town. We needs to do away with this scooter stuff and create more Bicycle lanes around all of Central Austin, that alone, will get people to exercise more. We should only allow those scooters that carry two people that goes only 35-40 miles an hour on the streets of Austin. Its safe and has all the features like a motorcycle but less power and size. This will cut down on the pollution as well from using a car to get around. this little scooter we have out here now was a very dumb idea all around. At the expense and safety of our streets and neighborhood. Get rid of them.

WTNA 6 months ago

Scooter violations (use of sidewalk, illegal parking, speeding, lack of hand signaling, improper operation through intersections) need to be continually cited until proper and safe use is more consistent with repeat violators required to take a defensive drivers training for scooters. Hire staff authorized to enforce/ticket scooter violations rather than taking away from Austin Police Department staff.

teresa9200 6 months ago

Every single comment against scooters could be made against cars as well. I see cars blocking sidewalks constantly, forcing my child on a tricycle into the street. People shouldn't drive cars when they can walk instead. They are unsightly and are dangerous (how many people have been killed by scooters? how many by cars?). I think common-sense rules are KEY to ensure safety for all. I also think we need to heavily invest in safe, protected infrastructure for low-speed vehicles like bicycles and scooters. Scooters should not be on crowded sidewalks but should be in bicycle lanes. If there is no bike lane they should be in the street, and we should add more bike lanes.We also need to take one car parking spot per block in metered areas and add bicycle and scooter corrals. I rarely can find a place to lock my bicycle, but there is always a giant parking lot for hundreds of cars at the various establishments city-wide.

MP 6 months ago

I do think scooters are a good idea but the clientele that uses them are horrible drivers. I don’t think scooters should be allowed to ride anywhere bikes aren’t allowed. Also, the riders are super disrespectful. they don’t use any of the courtesy that a biker would use, like warning you that they are coming up behind you. AND when they park the scooters they block sidewalks all the time!! They absolutely should not be allowed in the park or on the hike and bike trail. Last time we walked downtown both of my children were hit by scooters. Once on the hike and bike and once on the sidewalk on Barton Springs. In both instances they came up behind us unannounced and ran in to my children as if they didn’t see them there. It was horrible! I feel like scooter riders and those companies must be responsible for sharing the road and take accountability for their misuse. Besides if we’re talking environmental consciousness a battery operated device isn’t it. Bikes far exceed scooters in the arena. And they’re more polite.

aedaywood 7 months ago

Scooters are just part of the mobility solutions needed in the Central City and other dense areas of town. I would rather see scooters than more cars since they go slower, take up less room, are quieter, and pollute less. Scooters are not too dissimilar to bikes in that they can go about the same speed and travel in the same areas (bike lanes, most sidewalks, lower traffic streets). People who think scooters are dangerous don't have to ride them. Those who do ride them should accept responsibility for their own safety. Scooter companies should make sure the scooters are operating correctly and are safe to use. We need more alternatives to cars as there is no more room in the Center City for more motor vehicles. Cars and trucks are more of a danger to life and property (and the climate) than any other mode of transportation.

Tom Thayer 7 months ago

Amazing how popular scooters are, from none just a year [?] ago. I'm a bike commuter; at first I was kind of aggravated with scooters in the bike lane, but now I'm used to it, and I hope that scooters will add to the pressure to improve and expand bike lanes (physically separate facilities from cars!!!). What about Lime's promise to "donate" ~$1 per rental? It's a franchise like cable; they are using City infrastructure for their business, so make them PAY FOR IT.* I think speed regulators are a good idea within geo-fenced areas, e.g. downtown. If UT can do it, so should we. * Don't pass laws you will not/do not enforcee (e.g. the rule about no electric bikes on the park trails. Why not, if the bike is properly behaved?)* Scooters left in the sidewalk right of way are DEFINITELY a problem. Can we create some sort of citizen reporting so that the scooter companies are penalized? Take a time-and-geo-stamped picture, note the make, model, bike number, then submit it to [311] [another site]...have a human review them and approve for assessing penalty.

chavela 7 months ago

I HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE SCOOTERS!!! I hated them before a scooter rider ran into my brand new car causing $3,500 of damage and I hate them even more now. The riders are on the sidewalks, they are in the bike lanes, and they are in the street - whatever is most convenient at the moment and ignore all traffic laws and common sense. Rarely does a scooter rider stop for a stop sign, rarely do they pay attention to what is going on around them, rarely do they where a helmet...and NEVER have I seen a Police Officer doing anything to correct them. Scooter are a HUGE safety hazard for everyone - riders, drivers, and pedestrians. When a scooter rider (100% at fault) hit my brand new car (less than 300 miles) and did $3,500 in damage, they had no insurance, the scooter company absolved themselves of liability so guess who gets to pay? Any Council member who votes to retain a proven safety hazard that puts life and property at risk does not deserve to retain their seat.

ConsistantVoter 7 months ago

When will Guadalupe Street from Cesar Chavez have safe with reflectors and dividers; properly paved (potholes are so dangerous); regularly maintained bike lanes throughout the entire north and southbound lanes.When will MLK from Lamar to 183 also have protected bike lanes? Sidewalks still don’t exist throughout my MLK community and those are a priority along with clearly marked, maintained bike lanes?

jwill 7 months ago

I'm a 63 year old female who rode an electric scooter for the first time during SXSW. As an attendant of the film festival, I found the scooter was the best way to get from one venue to another. I even rode one to a phone repair shop on S. Lamar from downtown to get my phone screen replaced. I loved the freedom, accessibility and low cost aspect of this form of public transportation.

Suzanne Whatley 7 months ago

Seems like the city government is more interested in corporate partnerships than hearing what the people need. We need mass transportation and a real transportation plan for exponential growth.

sheilamg 7 months ago

I can see the use of the scooters in areas where there are bike lanes or sidewalks. However, I have seen too many people use them as transportation on city streets where the scooter cannot drive at the speed limit. It causes frustrations by the drivers around them that may ultimately cause harm to the the person on the scooter. The scooter drivers also have no helmets, frequently are wearing shoes that will not provide adequate traction if they come across irregularities on the road or if they must make an abrupt move due to traffic or pedestrians. This is a very risky form of transportation to openly invite inexperience riders to try to navigate Austin traffic.I think the average user is a tourist who is not accustomed to using the scooters, not accustomed to Austin city streets or traffic and subsequently put into a high risk situation of being an individual without a helmet on a scooter unprotected in traffic with many distracted, impatient Austin drivers. In addition to people littering the scooter everywhere, I have seen people use leave the scooters on the green belt. I think that they would be fun to use on a smooth surface. However, you will never see me on a city street with automobiles. I want to live.

nleeaustintexas 7 months ago

Most of the comments seem to be focusing at the micro level and not at the macro level. We are in the midst of a mobility experiment. It is born of necessity because Austin's population has exploded to a degree that the infrastructure of the city cannot possibly keep up. To those that say we need to jettison the idea of scooters and focus on grander infrastructure, we need to accept that we have to first grab the low-hanging fruit to do what we can to address problems NOW. Two examples of those solutions are bike and scooter rentals and telecommuting. Neither of those solutions requires a huge investment in infrastructure. They can be implemented with virtually no underwriting from the city (and in the case of the scooter companies the city can reap dollars from them to apply toward infrastructure) and make an impact on the bottom line. Yes, cyclists ( I am one) will have to compete with scooters in the bike lanes but ultimately that will push the city and the scooter companies to expand that infrastructure (or not if it isn't profitable). We are a year into this experiment. I feel like the pros outweigh the cons and that there are some serious challenges to address but I think that we should be patient (and demanding) and keep the dialogue alive. It's a good start.

geigreg 7 months ago

This is for the city planners, bicycles are a wonderful means for transportation, but our city still spends millions on supporting cars and trucks. Instead why not consider permanently closing some of the streets downtown to public vehicles and support more bicycling and walking and even scooters if you really want them. Allow mass transit to actually be a viable option by only allowing them on certain streets. The Dutch did it over 30 years ago and have not looked back since.

Steve 7 months ago

The City has approved electric scooters, electric bikes, electric shuttles, and soon electric busses. I opened a 1 cab pedicab company and because its electric the city will not allow me to operate downtown. A pedicab is far more safer than a scooter and can safely provide service to a larger range of people. As far as placing a cap on the scooters top speed and restricting them from operating on the sidewalks. Not convinced that will do the trick, in fact it may just provide more obstacles for cars and busses.

Steve 7 months ago

I think the concerns around scooters creating a blockade for people with mobility issues is overblown. Out of 100,000 rides, how many incidences will there be of a person in a wheelchair unable to navigate a sidewalk? Yes people do stupid and inconsiderate things with scooters, and scooters may cause issues here and there, but so do cars. How many people are killed by cars every year, or every month? How many inconsiderate drivers park in handycap spaces? Let's ban cars too. Also, there aren't nearly enough racks to make docking the scooters a requirement without severly limiting their usefulness. Maybe around downtown that would be feasible but if you have to walk two blocks in order to take a scooter six blocks, what's the point? If anything we should be looking at how to make scooters more available in neighborhoods. I live three blocks from Lamar, and there are places that would be great to get to by scooter, but if I have to walk to Lamar to find one it defeats the purpose. So I end up driving to places that are a mile away rather than walk it in 90 degree heat and get sweaty.Lastly, rather than a safety flyer like the one on this page, you should illustrate the need for safety the way TxDOT does for cars. When you drive down the road you see signs saying how many people were killed this year. People assume that since scooters are relatively slow that they won't get hurt. And nobody is going to use a helmet, except maybe those that take the same ride every day to work. Once people understand the dangers and are more aware of what they're doing, the safety record could improve. And if people were actually concerned about getting a ticket, they would also improve their behavior.

venom001 7 months ago

Scooters have been a blight on Austin. I would love to see them taken out of the city and have Austin give more attention to long-term transportation solutions (namely, light rail) and better solutions for bikes on South Congress and in other parts of Austin.I've seen lots of college students (and tourists) treat scooters like they're a game and not a motorized mode of transportation. I've seen two people on a scooter; people speeding down South Congress with no helmet; even parents sharing a scooter with their young children, somehow. Even with etiquette flyers, that will still not be enough to show residents and tourists the best way to ride these hazards on wheels. Having them in the bike lane is also not a great solution. As a cyclist, I hate seeing them in the bike lanes. They can make our currently already unsafe bike lanes even MORE unsafe for cyclists. They can crowd up a lane, making it difficult to pass them. Cars don't even see them when they're in the bike lane, and I've seen a LOT of close calls near intersections where cars are taking a left turn and don't look to see if there's any oncoming bike or scooter traffic. Plus, they're motorized, and shouldn't belong in the bike lane at all.We have a MAJOR sidewalk problem in Austin, and the scooters merely add to our woes in this category. Sidewalks can often get very thin, stop, or not exist at all. Scooters take up valuable walking real-estate and make walking in Austin more inconvenient than it is already! Wheelchair users and other folks with disabilities are also impeded by scooters. I am always having to stop and move an incorrectly parked scooter off a thin sidewalk, at least once or twice a week when I'm on Riverside and Congress, and have gone out of my way to do it downtown as well.Overall, I don't believe we have the traffic and infrastructure to make scooters a safe option of transportation for people.I strongly believe they should be removed from our city until we take care of issues that have been put on the back burner long enough: Better transportation (busses, rail); safer and more modern bike lanes/routes; better sidewalks for pedestrians in all parts of Austin

J Workman 7 months ago

The idea behind these modes of transportation is good (reduce traffic by offering an alternative way to get around) but there needs to be accouability for their management. UT campus has instituted rules that have improved campus-experience of these scooters and I think that's a good starting model. Scooters improperly parked should be fined. The fine can be passed on to the company, which will probably pass it on to the user. It is inexcusable to allow scooters to block sidewalks and restrict ADA access. They should be required to follow the same laws as bikes (ride on road, stop at stop signs etc) (side note: more safe bike lanes!). The City should review what other municipalities (like San Francisco) have done to review the COMPANY'S efforts to be responsible for their own product. These companies appear to just be dumping these on the streets. What steps are they taking to address safety, ADA, waste, user-behavior etc.? The City has a right to demand company responsibility. Oh, and please do not encourage parking these things IN public bike racks unless the city is prepared to provide more public bike racks. It's hard enough to find bike parking sometimes without scooters taking those spots (for rentable bikes, maybe do as Car2Go does and demand the company provide company-specific bike racks?)

Erin K. 7 months ago