Norton Requests Capitol Police be Directed to Create Rules and Regulations to Allow Environmentally Friendly Electric Scooters on Capitol Grounds

Mar 19, 2020
Press Release

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) sent a letter today to the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommitee on the Legislative Branch requesting that it instruct Capitol Police to create rules and regulations for the safe use of electric scooters on Capitol Grounds.

Electric scooters are a safe, innovative mode of transportation that allows people to travel quickly without the congestion or air pollution associated with cars.  Narrowly tailored rules and regulations for their use would be consistent with Capitol Police’s existing policy permitting the safe and regulated operation of other low-speed vehicles like motorized bicycles, mopeds and Segways on Capitol Grounds. 

“I am confident that sustained collaboration between all stakeholders can produce a plan for the safe and responsible operation of e-scooters on Capitol Grounds,” Norton wrote in her letter.  “This measured approach will ensure that Congress’s response to emerging technologies is reflective of the changing nature of today’s transportation landscape.”

The full letter is below:

March 19, 2020

 

 

The Honorable Tim Ryan                                           The Honorable Jaimie Herrera Beutler

Chairman                                                             Ranking Member

Legislative Branch Subcommittee                                        Legislative Branch Subcommittee

House Committee on Appropriations                                   House Committee Appropriations

Washington, DC 20510                                                Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Herrera Beutler:

I write to request that you include report language instructing the Capitol Police to create rules and regulations for the safe operation and parking of e-scooters on Capitol Grounds.  The inclusion of this language would be an appropriate and measured response to the emergence of e-scooters and other innovative transportation modes as safe ways to travel that reduce congestion and air pollution, which are particularly high in this region.

 Last spring, the Capitol Police sent letters to 10 e-scooter companies stating that the Traffic Regulations for the Capitol Grounds prohibit the use of e-scooters.  The Capitol Police rightly noted the safety concerns resulting from unattended e-scooters left on sidewalks, roadways and other areas on Capitol Grounds.  However, an outright ban on the operation of e-scooters on Capitol Grounds is overly restrictive and incongruent with other Capitol Police decisions to permit the safe and regulated operation of low-speed vehicles, such as motorized bicycles, mopeds and Segways on Capitol Grounds.  The Capitol Police should permit e-scooters to operate on Capitol Grounds while issuing narrowly tailored regulations to protect public safety. 

I am confident that sustained collaboration between all stakeholders can produce a plan for the safe and responsible operation of e-scooters on Capitol Grounds.  This measured approach will ensure that Congress’s response to emerging technologies is reflective of the changing nature of today’s transportation landscape.  Therefore, I request that the following language be included in the final report accompanying the FY 21 bill:

Dockless Commercial Scooters on U.S. Capitol Grounds.— Dockless commercial scooters, or e-scooters, and other motorized devices for rent have grown as a commuting option for congressional staffers, tourists and other visitors to the District of Columbia and Capitol Grounds. The Committee recognizes that new and expanding micromobility options in the District can offer alternatives to car travel and increase access to public transportation.  However, the Committee also believes that these options can create a public safety concern impacting vehicular and pedestrian traffic on Capitol Grounds if not appropriately regulated.  The safety and security concerns raised by the Capitol Police and other members of the congressional community should be addressed.  The Committee instructs the Capitol Police to create a framework for the safe operation and parking of e-scooters on Capitol Grounds.  The Committee also expects the Capitol Police to continue to expand its outreach efforts to e-scooter companies and the District, and to work to better educate users, including congressional staff, District residents and visitors on the appropriate operation of e-scooters on Capitol Grounds.

          Thank you for your consideration and your continuing support.

 

Sincerely,

                  Eleanor Holmes Norton

 

 

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