A February 2020 CityLab article by David Zipper of the Harvard Kennedy School explores the potential danger of over-regulation of e-scooters by U.S. cities. The article, titled “The Local Regulations That Can Kill E-Scooters” highlights the need for local policy-makers to consider the different market realities that e-scooter operators face when developing regulations, especially in suburban and less densely-populated areas.
Zipper notes that three micromobility operators have already pulled out of San Diego – a seeming desirable market – and “onerous” regulations are cited as the reason. Other markets of varying size have faced similar drawbacks. The article continues to suggest that well-regulated scooters can be a benefit to cities, providing a cheap, fairly environmentally-friendly mobility option. City planners can ensure that e-scooter companies are able to operate long-term by considering such regulations as how many companies they permit to operate, how many vehicles are permitted per operator, and where the vehicles are permitted to park.