The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a Shared Mobility Device (SMD) ordinance on Nov. 19 that will govern devices such as e-scooters in Fairfax County effective Jan. 1, 2020. In February of this year, the General Assembly passed a law permitting shared mobility devices in Virginia and gave local governments authority to establish regulations or a pilot program for these new devices. Fairfax County’s Department of Cable and Consumer Services will regulate the e-scooter and other SMD operators through a permitting process. Operators will be required to maintain certain fleet sizes with an initial maximum fleet of 300 devices per operator permit that can be increased to 600 devices per operator based on usage.
Rules of the Road
Like bicycles, e-scooters can be used on a highway, sidewalk, shared-use path, roadway, or crosswalk. E-scooters in Fairfax County cannot be operated above 10 mph. Once riders reach their destination, they should leave the device parked in an area that does not impede normal car or foot traffic. If residents notice an e-scooter parked in an inappropriate place or left on private property, they can contact the device operator listed on the e-scooter and the operator must remove it.
Fairfax County staff will create a process for complaints about e-scooters and SMDs related to improper use or abandonment. Staff will coordinate implementation of the complaint process with bordering jurisdictions and present a summary in the first year of SMDs in early 2021.
In order to report any issues related to scooters and other shared devices, emails can be sent to email@example.com.
For more information on the SMD ordinance call Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services at 703-324-5966, TTY 711.
What is the Shared Mobility Devices (SMD) Program?
A program to allow private companies to operate shared mobility devices (such as dockless scooters) for hire.
- Board of Supervisors Public Hearing on November 19, 2019. Read here and watch here.
- Staff presentation to the Board Transportation Committee on October 22, 2019. Read here and watch here.
- Staff presentation to the Board Transportation Committee on July 9, 2019. Read here and watch here.
Key provisions in draft ordinance include:
- Initial fleet size of 300 shared mobility devices per operator
- Maximum fleet size of 600 shared mobility devices per operator
- Speed limit of 10 MPH on all riding surfaces/locations
- Operation allowed on public highways and sidewalks
- Shared mobility device collection requirements and timelines
County staff has solicited and received feedback from the public, local businesses and property owners, pedestrian and biking groups, and the industry. Staff continues to be responsive to inquiries on the issue and is available to speak at or attend meetings on shared mobility devices for hire in Fairfax County.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any person who has been granted an Operator's Permit and holds one or more Shared Mobility Device Certificates.
While Fairfax County cannot regulate the riders, consumers are encouraged to read the rental agreement, adhere to the operator's requirements, and follow applicable County and State laws.
Visit the website or app of the company whose device you would like to use.
Fairfax County does not have the authority to regulate helmets although many companies do that voluntarily.
Anywhere a bike could be reasonably and respectfully parked. No person will park in a manner that impedes normal pedestrian or traffic movement or where such parking is prohibited.
Shared Mobility Devices can be ridden on a highway, sidewalk, shared-use path, roadway, or crosswalk.
No person will ride on any such designated sidewalk or crosswalk where signs have been posted prohibiting such use.
Initially each company can have a fleet of 300 devices, with a total of no more than 600 devices.
You should report the device to the company that provided the service. Contact information is provided on each device.
If they are parked on your private property, or they impede access, you may move the device to a more appropriate location or reach out to the company directly and request the device be moved.
Business owners and property managers may establish parking areas for SMDs.
Private property owners and managers who find dockless SMDs on their property may move the device to a public area, or call the rental company for removal.