F.C. Council Tables Action on Scooter Ordinance

Upon learning that the City of Falls Church already has on its books an old ordinance prohibiting the use of electric-powered scooters on sidewalks, City Attorney Carol McCoskrie recommended a tabling of a new ordinance pertaining to a scooter policy pending a “cleaning up of the existing ordinance.”

The effort cancels out the first reading given to a new ordinance last month that would have prohibited use of scooters on sidewalks except on Route 29 and 7, and a new proposed ordinance can be expected to come forth in late January or February, she said.

Meanwhile, a lot of comment has been received by the Council to permit use on sidewalks cautioning about the relative dangers to scooter riders of being limited to the streets. It was noted that the advent of scooters conforms with the City’s goals of encouraging alternatives to gas-fueled autos and would encourage retail commerce downtown. McCoskrie noted that as things currently stand, “The Virginia Code provides that motorized scooters and skateboards are permitted to ride on sidewalks unless an ordinance provides otherwise. The (current) City Code, both in the definitions and in Section 26-108(b), prohibits motorized bicycles and other vehicles from riding on the sidewalk.”     

City Manager Wyatt Shields confirmed that the City has complied with the state requirement to submit a general policy guideline for scooters before the end of the month, and that the City will accept applications from scooter companies to operate in the City following the beginning of the new year, though none will likely be granted licenses before April. The Council voted to table the measure by a 6-0 vote.