Program Background

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Electric Scooter Pilot Program 

VeoRide ScootersBACKGROUND

• On September 11, 2018, Knoxville City Council approved a 150-day moratorium on e-scooters to study best practices for scooter safety. This moratorium was renewed on January 29, 2019 and July 30, 2019, which extended it through March 5, 2020. The pilot program is authorized to continue through then for further study and evaluation.

• The moratorium allowed time for Knoxville to study other programs and issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a one-year pilot.  Operating agreements were subsequently developed with two approved electric scooter share programs, VeoRide and Zagster/Spin. 

• Both the City of Knoxville and the companies may terminate the agreements with 30 days’ notice. The one-year pilot is renewable for up to two additional years.

• On May 1, 2019, both scooter companies formally launched with 50 scooters, adding 50 additional scooters periodically for a maximum of 250 scooters per company, for a maximum of 500 scooters.

• The City worked with the companies to determine geographical boundaries for the program as well as increasing education and awareness through additional signage (e.g. stickers on scooters that emphasize that scooters should be in the streets, not the sidewalks).


• The City does not own, operate, or have any financial investment in the scooter program.

• During the pilot, the companies operating the shared scooter program and City officials will be working to refine the program.

• Both companies operate through individual applications on mobile devices.

• The City maintains an electric scooter landing page on its website that is updated periodically.

• Complaints about scooters can be reported to the companies through 1-800 numbers provided on the City website, posted on the scooters, or through the app.

• Both companies redeploy scooters based on demand but have different models as shown below:

Pilot program VeoRide Spin (partner of Zagster*)
Hours of operation 24 hours / day 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Age of riders 16 16
Deployment Scooters are continuously redeployed and batteries replaced on site.  Collected beginning around 9 p.m. each night and redeployed by 7 a.m.
Speed Max. 15 mph Max. 15 mph
Restrictions on operations Special events Special events; weather as determined by company

* Zagster, which operates the existing Pace bike sharing program, launched with Spin scooters locally; the age allowed by Spin has changed since the launch. Initially younger riders were allowed with parental approval/accompaniment.


• The City receives monthly statistics from the scooter companies. The data will be used to evaluate the pilot on a monthly basis by a team of City representatives. 


• Scooters are treated as vehicles (City of Knoxville) and more specifically, electric bicycles. The state has authorized local governments to control the use and operation of the e-scooters. (State of Tennessee, effective 07/01/19)

• Helmets are not required for operating the electric scooters (State of Tennessee) but are recommended by the scooter companies.

• Electric scooters generally cannot be ridden on sidewalks; they must be ridden on the streets (City of Knoxville). Electric scooters in the pilot program cannot be ridden on greenways, either.

• Scooters should not be parked in a way that impedes pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicle traffic (City of Knoxville). 

• Scooters must follow all traffic laws (e.g. one-way streets, stop signs) (state law and City of Knoxville)


• Enforcement and fines will be provided by the scooter companies and/or the Knoxville Police Department (KPD).

• UTPD can enforce and issue citations on campus based on UT policies that may differ from the City of Knoxville.

• Under the current operating agreements, the City of Knoxville can impose a penalty of $50 against scooter companies for certain offenses.

• In addition, scooter companies can fine users, as follows:
VeoRide provides a notification/warning for the first offense for inappropriate parking or operating in a “no ride zone.” For the second offense on an account, VeoRide charges $15 to the user’s credit card/account. 

• KPD will use best judgment in enforcing scooter policies within the limits of the City Code.  As many municipalities have different rules, such as allowing sidewalk riding, users and tourists will generally be issued verbal warnings by law enforcement officers for riding on sidewalks for the first violation.

• One of the challenges faced by KPD, and other municipalities, is being able to stop scooters when violations are occurring. Whenever possible and able to do so safely, KPD will be providing warnings and citations.

• ALL violators of traffic laws, including those riding scooters, are subject to being issued tickets by KPD.  Enforcement is being phased in, as follows:

Date Action
May 1 - May 30, 2019 Education/Awareness – work with vendors to address issues and develop additional public information tools; verbal warnings KPD issues verbal warnings
June 1 – July 30, 2019 Implement set of education/awareness tools by City and Vendors; begin social media campaign #scootersmarts KPD issues verbal warnings and citations where appropriate

• Any person who commits a “moving violation” on a scooter may be subject to a fine of $50 as outlined in Sec. 1-9 of City Code.  Violations include, but are not limited to:
- running a red light
- operating a scooter on the wrong side of the street
- failing to stop at a stop sign
- riding the wrong way on a one-way street

• In addition, court costs are assessed in most traffic citations.

• The only exception to this is a moving violation involving operating a scooter under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  This violation is subject to Tennessee state laws regulating operation of a vehicle under the influence.  
First time offenders are subject to a minimum of 48 hours and a maximum of 11 months and 29 days imprisonment, as well as a fine ranging from $350-$1500.

• Any person who commits a “parking violation” on a scooter--such as parking a scooter in a way that impedes pedestrian traffic, parking a scooter in the roadway, etc.-- may be subject to a fine, with the amount depending on the offense.