A year after the launch of the City of Springfield’s micromobility (electric scooter) program, ridership is still high and a second company – Eway – has entered the market.
“We have seen much greater e-scooter ridership than we anticipated, with more than 52,000 rental rides and 78,000 miles traveled since we launched the program with 55 Bird scooters in fall 2022,” says City Traffic Engineer Grady Porter, who oversees the program. “This comes with a small number of formal complaints that the City and the companies have addressed quickly. So far, we have only seen two reported crashes.” Porter added that the average ride is about a mile and a half and just over 13 minutes.
In June, the City allowed Bird to both increase its number of scooters to 100 deployed on public right of way and expand its boundaries to Kearney Street to the north, Glenstone Avenue to the east, Cherokee Street to the south and Kansas Expressway to the west (view map of expanded boundaries).
In July, the City permitted Eway to deploy 20 scooters within the boundaries of Commercial Street to the north, Grand Street to the south, National Avenue to the east and Grant Avenue to the west. Porter said he expects Eway’s presence to grow.
E-scooters offer quick, convenient, eco-friendly and cheap transportation, Porter says. Since the launch of the program, rental e-scooter usage has saved Springfield 24.58 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and more than 35,000 car miles.
In an effort to reduce “scooter clutter” on sidewalks and right-of-way, the City designated 26 e-scooter parking areas that were determined by available space, key origin and destination locations. E-scooter rental companies are encouraged to reach out to local business owners to establish parking areas in private parking lots. If a designated parking area is not available, scooters should be parked upright at the edge of a sidewalk or in a location that does not impede pedestrian traffic.
Springfield’s e-scooter rules and regulations
Per Springfield City Code, all operators of e-scooters and micromobility devices need to know and abide by the following rules and regulations that are enforceable by law in the City of Springfield.
- Every person operating an e-scooter upon the streets of the city shall wear protective headgear (helmet).
- A valid driver’s license is required to operate an e-scooter.
- E-scooter operators must yield the right of way to pedestrians and shall give an audible signal before overtaking and passing a pedestrian.
- E-scooters are limited to 15 mph in all areas and 10 mph on Ozark Greenways trails using geofencing technology, however operators are responsible to limit their speeds on sidewalks, where allowed, to be no greater than 5 mph.
- E-scooters are not allowed to operate on roadways that have a speed limit greater than 30 mph.
- E-scooter companies are required to stop rentals at 10 p.m. each night. If the rental occurs before 10 p.m. the rental will not be terminated until the ride has ended.
- For areas outside of the Downtown Springfield and Commercial Street business districts, no person shall park a micromobility device upon a street other than upon the roadway against the curb, upon the sidewalk in a rack, dock, or storage area, or against a building or at the curb in such manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.