Can you ride an electric scooter on DC sidewalks?
Yes, just not in the Central Business District.
Lauren Stephens, spokesperson for DC Department of Transportation (DDOT)
Brianna Jordan, spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)
Love them or hate them, electric scooters are here to stay. Designed as an eco-friendly alternative to cars, these ride share scooters get little love online as people take to Twitter and Facebook to vent about scooters on sidewalks and slowing down traffic.
Lots of people are confused about where you're allowed to ride a scooter in D.C., but electric scooters have as much right to the sidewalk as pedestrians, according to Metropolitan Police and DC's Department of Transportation.
"Basically dockless scooters should follow the same rules as sidewalk bike riding," Brianna Jordan, MPD Public Affairs Specialist said.
Electric scooters are categorized as "Personal Mobility Devices" and they're permitted on sidewalks, under D.C. Code.
There's one swath of D.C. called the "Central Business District," where electric scooters must ride in the street.The area covers Foggy Bottom including the National Mall, the White House and George Washington University. Here you can zip around in bike or car lanes, staying close to the curb.
During rush hour, sidewalks can get packed.
Between September 2017 and July 2018 dockless bike and scooter companies have reported 30 incidents, including collisions, to the DC's Department of Transportation. That's relatively low, considering there's around 750 zipping around the District.
So we can Verify, yes, electric scooters are allowed on DC sidewalks.
In terms of safety, scooter companies encourage wearing a helmet. In D.C. you have to be at least 16 to ride an electric scooter and you don't have to wear a helmet.