Could the Zipcar for Scooters Work in DC?

by UrbanTurf Staff

Could the Zipcar for Scooters Work in DC?: Figure 1

In San Francisco on Wednesday, a start-up called Scoot that is being dubbed the “Zipcar for scooters” launched.

Like car2go and Zipcar, Scoot, with its 50 scooters around the city, provides Vespa-like modes of transportation that city dwellers can rent for up to an hour for $5 for round-trip or one-way transportation. The whole operation is very 2012: a mobile app helps users find available scooters, the user’s iPhone is not only used to start the scooter (no keys) but also for navigation purposes, and the scooters are all powered by electricity. Riders are covered by Scoot’s insurance and helmets are provided with each scooter.

While the scooters don’t go above 25 mph and are restricted from the leaving the confines of the city, it could be popular places like San Francisco or DC, where parking even for Smart cars can be a challenge and scooters are becoming a more popular form of transportation. However, whether or not DC will get this service is unclear.

“We definitely plan to roll out in other cities,” Scoot’s Matt Ewing told UrbanTurf. “But our list of next cities is still a work in progress.”

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/could_the_zipcar_for_scooters_work_in_dc/6080


  1. KN said at 10:02 pm on Wednesday September 26, 2012:
    DC considers all scooters (even under 50cc) to be motorcycles and requires motorcycle endorsements on your license. Don't see this company coming to the district under those regulations.
  1. Jules said at 10:23 pm on Wednesday September 26, 2012:
    While I don't think it will happen, I am a scooter fanatic and would love to see the service in DC.
  1. MH said at 10:31 pm on Wednesday September 26, 2012:
    KN, Those models, you are correct. But under 50CC, larger wheels and speed restricted, then they could be considered mopeds, and not require an endorsement. from DC Municpal code 18-9901 Motorized Bicycle - any motor vehicle having either a tandem arrangement of two wheels equipped with tires which are sixteen inches (16 in.) or more in diameter or a tricyclic arrangement of three (3) wheels equipped with tires which are sixteen inches (16 in.) or more in diameter, having a seat or saddle for the use of the operator, having an automatic transmission, and having a motor or engine which produces not more than one and one-half (1.5) brake horsepower (S.A.E. rating), has a piston displacement of not more than fifty cubic centimeters (50 cc), and is capable of moving the vehicle at a maximum speed of not more than thirty-five miles per hour (35 mph) on level ground when propelled exclusively by such motor or engine. (D.C. Law 1-110 & D.C. Law 3-125)
  1. kob said at 2:27 am on Thursday September 27, 2012:
    I'd be worried. Handling a scooter or moped is not like a bike. And this isn't Block Island, with wide open roads to play with your moped on. You'd have too many people who don't know what they're doing on these things.
  1. TPina said at 4:37 pm on Thursday September 27, 2012:
    Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Tommy Wells should get together and simplify and clairify the 50cc or less scooter/moped/motorized bike definitions. Children 15 to 16 years old are learning to drive or driving CARS with much less or no restrictions! Yet overregulating a moped type scooter is ok? If a bicycle doesn't need tags, license or insurance (optional; neither should a 50cc scooter. Over 50cc scooters though not as powerful as a motorcycle should also be classified separately from motorcycles. Everyone wants to be "green",save on fuel consumption, lower pollution levels, and cut down on car traffic - but no one wants to take on a simple solution. Many more people would rather use a scooter than ride a bicycle if given the chance. The focus should be on two,three and four wheel scooters to solve the transportation problems of Washington, D.C.. Cut out these monkeywrench regulations and open up the market for scooters. Then watch the market explode to ten times the usage with 14 year old to 90 year old citizens riding scooters. This is Mary Chehs committee but she is reluctant to do anything and has sat on it. It's her civic duty and responsibility to right this wrong.
  1. SE Jerome said at 8:09 pm on Thursday September 27, 2012:
    In certain areas people will have to come up off them scooters...
  1. BD said at 11:06 pm on Thursday September 27, 2012:
    We also need to fix the laws which currently place cyclists as second rate citizens. Penalties for killing or maiming pedestrians or cyclists (or scooter or moped riders) should be so severe (as in other countries) as to make car drivers more responsible and less aggressive. Then people will overcome the fear and make the logical choice.

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