Better watch it – Virginia Beach begins enforcing e-scooter ban at the Oceanfront

Bird scooters in front of the Virginia Beach Convention Center. (Southside Daily file)
Bird scooters in front of the Virginia Beach Convention Center. (Southside Daily file)

VIRGINIA BEACH —  Following the recent City Council decision to ban motorized scooters in much of the Oceanfront and on roadways with speed limits greater than 25 mph, city staff and the e-scooter companies operating here are making changes to support the new ordinance.

The following actions are being taken to uphold the new regulations, according to city officials:

  • Police officers are implementing an “educate and enforce” campaign to make riders aware of the change.
  • Signs indicating the e-scooter restrictions are being produced for install.
  • BIRD and Lime, the e-scooter companies operating in the city, are dialing back their presence at the Oceanfront to relocate 500-1,000 scooters in the resort area, update geofencing to create new virtual boundaries and update company apps to provide riders with new instructions

The e-scooter companies hope to wrap up their changes no later than 5 p.m. Friday (Aug. 23)

The restricted Oceanfront area for e-scooter use is east of Arctic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean, from Rudee Loop to 42nd Street. However, riders are still permitted on roadways outside of the boundaries that have speed limits of 25 mph or less, officials said.

“Maintaining the health and well-being of citizens and visitors in the resort area and throughout the City are top priorities of the Virginia Beach City Council,” Vice Mayor Jim Wood said. “It is not our desire to stall innovation, but to move forward in a safe and responsible manner.”

City staff is in the process of facilitating community input and developing franchise license request for proposals to create a balance of regulations that create a safer environment overall. Any new requirements associated with franchise licenses of motorized scooters would be in place by Dec. 31.

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.