EXCLUSIVE: New rental scooters in uptown not approved by city

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Channel 9 investigation has discovered that new dockless rental scooters just unveiled in uptown Charlotte are here illegally.

[New electric dockless scooters unveiled in uptown Charlotte]

Channel 9 aired video Tuesday morning of a dangerous operator on one of the electric scooters. He was riding the wrong way on North Tryon Street in order to get around traffic during morning rush hour.

On Wednesday, Channel 9 discovered that the company behind the new scooters, Lime, did not get approval from the city before flooding the streets of uptown with dozens of them.

The company blew past the required permitting process when they flooded Charlotte's streets with dozens of scooters.

Operators are required to have a license and wear a helmet when riding the scooters, but some of them aren’t following the rules of the road, putting themselves and others at risk.

"It needs to be handled in the correct way and they need to get council approval,” motorist Danee McGee said. “And they need to work with CDOT to manage that."

“I like these things. I think they’re really cool, but there are a lot of legitimate concerns that we need to make sure we have our hands wrapped around, none more important than that video you showed me of someone without a helmet in the street coming into oncoming traffic,” said City Councilman Tariq Bohkari.

City officials said they are trying to work with the company to create safety rules and guidelines to keep sidewalks clear of the bikes and scooter.

The city is now giving the company until Friday to cycle the scooters out. The city will welcome them back for a pilot period but only after they have worked out safety concerns.

In a statement, Lime told us:

We have, and will continue to work collaboratively with the city towards a common-sense regulatory solution that prioritizes rider safety and accessibility, while maintaining our scooters as an affordable, transportation alternative  for residents of Charlotte. We look forward to continuing to serve locals with a convenient way to get around, as we have done for more than 20,000 riders in Charlotte since launching last year.

The city already has dockless bicycles. Last month, Channel 9 reported that more than 700 people have complained about them. Most people are upset about the bikes being left in front of bus stops and businesses.

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