Monday, July 22, 2024

Here’s the deal: E-scooters banned from the Virginia Beach Oceanfront

A couple rides on a rented Bird scooter at Virginia Beach's boardwalk. (Southside Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)
A couple rides on a rented Bird scooter at Virginia Beach’s boardwalk. (Southside Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)

VIRGINIA BEACH — City Council voted 6-5 in their formal meeting Tuesday night to approve an ordinance banning e-scooters on streets where the speed limit exceeds 25 mph.

Councilman Aaron Rouse was the first to speak out against the ordinance. He said the city is going through a transitional period as it adapts to new technology — council members Jessica Abbott, Guy Tower, Michael Berlucchi, and John Moss had the same sentiment.

“We agreed we’d let the pilot program go through then come back and see how we would regulate it going forward,” Rouse said.

The ordinance, requested by Mayor Bobby Dyer, Vice Mayor Jim Wood, and council members Louis Jones and Rosemary Wilson, also prohibits e-scooters from the east side of Arctic Avenue on the west, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Rudee Loop to the south, and the north side of 42nd Street.

Even after geofencing and liability agreements have been in place, council said passing the ordinance “will avoid the most horrific and possibly deadly of injuries associated with the operation of motorized scooters.”

“Since the introduction of these scooters, there have been 65 individuals who have been treated by EMS and that does not count the people who have gone to the hospital on their own,” Wood said.

In July, City Council voted 10-1 to allow e-scooters on Atlantic Avenue after Virginia Beach Police at the Oceanfront said they “couldn’t in good faith” push scooter riders off of Atlantic and onto Pacific Avenue where the speed limit is 35 mph.

RELATED STORY: Virginia Beach Police: Atlantic Ave. is safer for e-scooters than Pacific Ave.

The city’s Shared Mobility Task Force opened a public survey asking where residents think e-scooters should be permitted as part of the “community engagement” step in their timeline to revise the city codes and open a public procurement process to license qualified e-scooter vendors by Dec. 31.

RELATED STORY: If you have something to say about those e-scooters in town, you might want to take part in this

Pay raises deferred for City Council appointees

City Council was also scheduled to determine whether they’d raise or stay annual pay for “City Council Appointees” as stated in the city code but Councilman Louis Jones moved to defer each ordinance until the next formal meeting Sep. 3.

Council voted 8-3 on each ordinance that would grant a 3 percent pay raise for City Manager Dave Hansen, City Attorney Mark Stiles, City Clerk Amanda Barnes, City Real Estate Assessor Ronald Agnor, and City Auditor Lyndon Remias.

With calls from residents growing for council to fire Hansen, the more than $7,000 raise — not including a $12,000 annual car allowance and $12,684 compensation plan — was a hot-button topic.

Councilman John Moss publicly spoke out against raising Hansen’s current $263,611.40 base salary.

RELATED STORY: VB Councilman John Moss: City Manager Dave Hansen makes more than the governor

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