Columbia, SC

Update 9/1/2019: The yearlong ban in Columbia, South Carolina has not been lifted but a neighboring city is considering a pitch from Blue Duck Scooters. Blue Duck Scooters is hoping that they could help more students from South Carolina State and Claflin make it downtown using their scooters. Blue Duck Scooters is asking for a 30 day pilot program. Orangeburg City Council is set to consider this proposal and are looking into the matter. [1]  As a comparison Orangeburg has a city population of 12, 903 while Columbia has a population of 133,144.

In October 2018, before E-scooters were launched in Columbia, COLAtoday polled whether or not “you would ride an E-scooter through the city” and the majority of responses were “yes”— 60% on Facebook, 63% on Twitter + 70% on Instagram.

In January 2019, Columbia City Council voted to temporarily ban E-scooters from operating within the city.[2] The ban is for one year, and its purpose is to allow is to allow Columbia officials to conduct more research in preparation before these E-scooters arrive— in hopes of preemptively avoiding issues that other locations have experienced.[3] Essentially, it allows more research and preparation to be done before these E-scooters arrive— in hopes to preemptively avoid issues that other locations have experienced.

This ban:

  • Prohibits E-scooters from public property
  • Allows the city to impound any offending unattended E-scooter
  • Fines violators up to $500 per offending E-scooter[4]

There is some debate over whether E-scooters are even legal under state statute in Columbia.[5] This debate stems from confusion and skepticism over E-scooters fitting into South Carolina’s definition and regulation of “motor vehicles”.

While E-scooters seem to have public approval, Columbia is concerned with establishing a good relationship between the city and E-scooters. This relationship is built by collaborating with E-scooter companies, city officials and lawmakers, and the citizens of Columbia to ensure optimal permitting, safety, and enforcement policies are put in place before E-scooters are launched in the city.

[1] See, Sam, Could Scooters Come to Columbia?

[2] See Sarah Ellis, Its Official: Columbia Bans Electric Scooters for 1 Year,

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Interview, South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (March 28, 2019).