Charlotte, NC


Cite as: Jessica Shultz, Charlotte, SC, in University of South Carolina School of Law, Dockless Mobility: A Look into the Regulation of E-scooters, (last updated 2019).

The City of Charlotte serves as an excellent model for cities and states seeking to implement dockless mobility via a pilot program. Charlotte acted preemptively and issued its program in order to study how e-scooters operate within City limits. In May 2018, e-scooters were permitted to operate in Charlotte under the rules of the pilot program.[1] In November 2018, City staff published a draft Shared Mobility E-Scooter Plan to support City Council conversations regarding permanent rules for e-scooters.[2] In January 2019, the City created permanent rules and a permitting program for such e-scooters.[3]


The City of Charlotte desires to create a high-energy, hyper-connected, and safe community.[4] The Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT) is working to achieve that vision through the addition of a Shared Mobility Program, which allows users to rent a bike or e-scooter from virtually anywhere through a smart-phone application, and park it when their ride ends.[5]


Since e-scooters arrived in Charlotte, 1,523,567 miles have been traveled using this form of transportation.[6] That distance is comprised of 439,971 e-scooter rides, with each ride averaging 1.43 miles.[7]


The City of Charlotte placed safety at the forefront of this pilot program, limiting e-scooter speed to 15 mph and placing restrictions on sidewalk riding: “sidewalk riding is allowed except in the area of Uptown bound by Church St., Stonewall St., College St., and 7th St. When riding on sidewalks, be visible, courteous and yield to pedestrians at all times.”[8] Additionally, the City banned e-scooters from being parked in a way that blocks sidewalks, curb ramps, or bus stops. If an e-scooter is reported for being parked incorrectly, it must be removed by the operator within two hours.[9] Although users must be 18 to unlock e-scooters and are not required by law to wear helmets, the City suggested helmet wear.[10]

Regarding permits, dockless mobility companies must secure a permit from the City to operate a fleet of e-scooters in Charlotte.[11] Operators are responsible for meeting the permit requirements specific to safety, maintenance, operations, parking, and data sharing.[12]

To regulate fleet size, Charlotte has established a “dynamic cap” on the number of e-scooters each company can operate based on our residents’ e-scooter usage.[13] If a company’s average trips per day for each e-scooter exceeds 3.0, that company may deploy more e-scooters.[14] If a company’s average trips per day for each e-scooter falls below 2.0, that company must remove e-scooters from the system.[15]


Charlotte identified several concerns regarding e-scooters during this pilot program. Specifically, the City desires to ensure equitable access to shared mobility technologies across Charlotte’s many diverse neighborhoods, encourage appropriate rider behavior, maintain an orderly system and keeping pedestrian pathways clear, as well as regulating the size, weight, and speed of e-scooters.[16] The most severe concern indicated by this report is a lack of connected e-scooter infrastructure within the City, especially in Uptown Charlotte, forcing many users to ride on crowded sidewalks, putting both users and pedestrians in danger.[17]


After collecting data from their pilot program, Charlotte decided to implement e-scooters permanently into their city. They enacted ordinances regarding e-scooter safety, usage, misusage, and permitting. Their prospective approach to dockless mobility serves as a successful example of a e-scooter pilot program.

See the ordinances here:

[1] See E-Scooter Share Program,

[2] See id.

[3]See id.

[4] See id.

[5] See id.

[6] Shared Mobility E-Scooter Plan, City of Charlotte Department of Transportation,

[7] See id.

[8] See E-Scooter Share Program.

[9] See id.

[10] See id.

[11] See id.

[12] See id.

[13] See id.

[14] See id.

[15] See id.

[16] See id.

[17] See id.