You may remember that I recently posted about the new electric scooter rental service in San Francisco.
Well, it seems they could be scuppered by local interpretation of the law requiring scooter riders to obtain a “special license”
Coverage of the company on Fast Company’s website asserted that “riding a rented scooters (sic) doesn’t require any special certification,” a similar article on Wired’s site says that “the scooters max out at 30 mph, negating the need for a motorcycle license,” and yet another piece on GigaOm says Scoot Networks’ rides are “low-power enough that the driver doesn’t need a motorcycle license.”
Keating tells the Appeal that it’s the California Department of Motor Vehicle’s laws around rentals that keep Scoot Networks’ riders from having to go through the usual $31 application fee, motorcycle learner’s permit (that means no night driving), written test, and either a driving test (administered at the DMV) or proof that you completed California Motorcyclist Safety Program to get the M2 license required for scooter drivers in California.
Keating referred me to CVC§ 12804.9 (h), which says that people with regular drivers’ licenses can rent a vehicle “for up to 48 hours. It’s a function of the vehicle not being very powerful…it’s in the same regulatory category as a moped,” he said.
DMV spokesperson Jessica Gonzalez isn’t so sure.
Referring me to the DMV’s page Motorcycles, Mopeds and Scooters Defined, Gonzalez confirmed after looking at the aforementioned coverage on Scoot Networks that the electric scooters used by the company “would require an M2 endorsement,” that is, a license that would allow a rider to “operate any motorized bicycle or moped or any bicycle with an attached motor,” per the DMV.
And it’s not just the DMV: “California Highway Patrol (CHP) agrees with DMV’s position that these scooters would require an M2 endorsement, pursuant to California Vehicle Code §406 (a),” Gonzalez said.
It will be interesting to watch how his one pans out. For more details, head over to the source: The San-Francisco Appeal