Part of the difficulty in implementing an E-scooter plan is the title and registration of the E-scooters themselves. Depending on how a state defines E-scooters, it may or may not be required to obtain proper registration from the DMV as is required by existing South Carolina state law §56-3-110 of South Carolina’s Code of Laws.
Earlier this year, in Raleigh, North Carolina, Lime ran into problems attempting to comply with title and registration requirements. Lime attempted to register their vehicles with the DMV, in order to comply with city regulations which were similar to South Carolina’s registration statute. However, the North Carolina DMV refused to grant Lime Registration, because the scooters do not have a vehicle identification number or title and they are considered to be personal mobility devices.
In response to Lime’s problems, a North Carolina State House Committee proposed a bill that would “formally classify electric stand up scooters in state law and would exempt them from having to be registered.”
The following is a sample of potential legal language that a state could use:
Electric scooters defined; electric scooter registration and title requirements; local regulation.
(A) “Electric scooter” means a device:
(1) weighing not more than one hundred (100) pounds;
(2) designed to travel on not more than three (3) wheels in contact with the ground
(3) with handlebars and a floorboard that the rider uses to stand on the device during operation; and
(4) powered by a motor that is capable of powering the device with or without human propulsion at a speed not more than thirty (20) miles per hour on a paved level surface.
(B) Devices that fall under the “Electric Scooter” definition described in subsection (A) shall be exempt from all registration and title requirements set forth in §56-3-110.
(C) This article does not prevent a local authority, by ordinance, from regulating the registration of motorized scooters and the operation of motorized scooters on local streets and sidewalks, if that regulation is not in conflict with this code.
S.C. Code Ann. §56-3-110
S.C. Code Ann. §56-1-10
Lauren Horsch, Electric scooter companies run into a roadblock trying to follow the law in Raleigh, The News & Observer (January 14, 2019), https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article224306940.html