OUR PRINCIPLES

Our growing coalition has adopted the following policy guidelines for how city and state regulations can create safe streets while meeting vital sustainability, safety, and economic development goals.

 
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E-bikes and e-scooters must be convenient to ride and easy to access in order to compete with the ubiquitous availability of the car. Regulations should allow providers to operate without unjustified restrictions or onerous requirements.

Apply the same regulations to vehicles of similar size and speed.

In order to provide regulatory clarity to riders and law enforcement, states and cities should treat any low-speed vehicle (15 mph or less) like a bicycle. That means allowing them to be ridden on roads, bike lanes, and bikeways. Low-speed vehicles should be parked, like bicycles, on sidewalks (and roads where applicable) outside of the pedestrian right-of-way. Low-speed, low-power devices should be exempt from state vehicle registration and titling. Similarly, regulations should prohibit the use of faster or larger vehicles in bike lanes and bikeways (e.g. mopeds).

Support efforts to ensure consistent rules across cities and allow more targeted city regulations to fit local needs.

To ensure uniform treatment across local borders, low-speed vehicles should have consistent rules of the road for general operation. Cities should focus on issues of local concern, like setting reasonable no-ride or no-park zones and regulating traffic.

Adopt reasonable fees and fines.

Permit fees and parking fines shouldn't be so high they deter operation or expansion into new neighborhoods, and any revenue above cost recovery should subsidize use by low-income riders or be used toward shared infrastructure (e.g. protected bike lanes).

Ensure the size of fleets can scale to meet demand—don't set permanent caps on fleet size.

It's imperative shared-use mobility providers can operate sufficiently-sized fleets to meet demand, especially in underserved communities where transit is often lacking. Setting a permanent cap on fleet sizes could severely reduce the reliability of these alternatives, which would disproportionately impact low-income communities that may rely on these options to access transit. If new mobility options are to compete with the convenient and uncapped fleets of cars, cities should have the ability to allow fleet sizes to meet public needs.

As new forms of transportation enter our cities, it's the mutual responsibility of local governments and the operators of shared-use vehicles to ensure everyone on the road is safe.

Design safe streets that prioritize people.

Currently, street design in most US cities favors speed for drivers above safety for people walking, biking, and scooting. Shared-use mobility providers can harness enthusiasm for better streets and work with cities and states to find resources to improve sidewalks, protected bike and scooter lanes, as well as other infrastructure that makes streets safer for all. Infrastructure is vital for safety, but the lack of infrastructure should not be an excuse to delay the introduction of shared-use mobility systems. In fact, the growth of shared-use mobility ridership can bolster the political will necessary for investment in safe streets infrastructure.

Lower automobile speed limits in urban areas.

In many urban and some suburban areas, lower speed limits for cars have proven as effective as expanding protected bike lanes in reducing fatal and injurious crashes. Recognizing that many streets are not wide enough to easily accommodate new protected bike and scooter lanes, to reduce speed limits to 25 or 20 mph, which will improve safety for all road users.

Encourage more ridership.

Policies and street designs that suppress the number of bicyclists and scooter riders will increase crash risk, because motorists are less likely to perceive infrequent road users. Likewise, any policy that encourages higher usage and prevalence of these modes of transportation will increase the likelihood of visual recognition and crash avoidance. This "safety in numbers" effect has been well documented and has revealed the unintended consequences of bike bans, pedestrian barricades, mandatory helmet laws and other well-intentioned yet counterproductive safety policies.

Include strong safety requirements in shared-use mobility permits.

All private companies operating shared-use vehicles should ensure their vehicles and their riders are respecting the pedestrian right-of-way and performing in a safe operating manner. Providers must work with cities to educate riders about the primacy of the pedestrian, and safe, courteous and legal riding.

Transportation access is one of the greatest indicators of economic mobility. Affordable and reliable transportation options are essential to connect people and communities to vital resources.

Ensure coverage in underserved neighborhoods.

A permit should require periodic evaluation of the distribution and overall supply of vehicles to ensure they are available in all neighborhoods where bikes and scooters can replace a reasonable number of short distance car trips. Cities should set minimum vehicle fleet sizes in order to ensure from the start that there is sufficient distribution and reliable accessibility across neighborhoods.

Expand supportive infrastructure more equitably.

In many neighborhoods, safe streets infrastructure is lacking, which means cities have an even greater responsibility to work with shared-use mobility providers to improve infrastructure, so people living in underserved communities can safely access these new transportation options.

Leverage new fees on non-sustainable modes of transportation to subsidize low-income plans for sustainable modes like shared-use bikes and scooters.

To subsidize low-income plans for shared-use bikes and scooters, cities should explore using congestion pricing for cars, right-priced car parking in downtowns and other congested areas, and operating fees for car-based rideshare.

Provide options for unbanked and non-smartphone users.

Access to shared bikes and scooters shouldn't require people to use cellular data or to have a credit card account. Systems should provide the option of SMS text-based access codes or non-credit card based payment.

Permits should require vehicles to be parked in locations that don't obstruct pedestrian rights-of-way. Companies should educate their users on where to park their vehicles.

Require providers to educate their riders about proper parking in their apps.

Require a photo to be taken at the end of every ride.

In areas with high levels of pedestrian traffic, cities may consider stenciling dockless parking spots in the furniture zone of sidewalks on each block, repurposing an existing parking spot, or other designated parking solution.

Operators should clearly print toll-free phone numbers and email addresses on all vehicles, so inappropriately parked vehicles can be easily reported.

Operators should promptly respond to inappropriately parked or damaged vehicles.

Information about shared mobility services should be readily available and in multiple languages. Passive forms of outreach should be supplemented by more direct outreach, especially to low-income communities and communities of color.

Cities should have access to anonymized data for suitable planning purposes while protecting rider privacy. Data should conform to widely-accepted specifications. Standardized data formats allow cities to easily compare data, and prevent companies' data support teams from having to juggle an assortment of inconsistent formats.

Currently, some states allow people cited for vehicle code infractractions while biking to take an educational course in lieu of paying a fine. Similar programs should be offered for scooter infractions.

 
 
 

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Streets for All is a coalition of alternative transportation advocates, environmental organizations, and sustainable shared-mobility providers.

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