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Electric scooters, bikes now prohibited in Rock Hill. Here’s why.

Electric scooters and bikes will not be hitting the streets of Rock Hill any time soon.

Rock Hill City Council voted Monday night to approve a pending ordinance that prohibits the rental of electric scooters and electric-assist bicycles, and the use of party bicycles in the city.

The ordinance, which was amended after the first reading Aug. 12, applies only to companies wanting to rent out the electric scooters and bikes in Rock Hill. It is not intended to prohibit the use of privately owned electric scooters and bikes.

No one commented during Monday’s public hearing.

Leah Youngblood, planning and zoning manager, said this summer, the planning and development staff received an inquiry from a company wanting to rent electric scooters in Rock Hill.

Youngblood said many electric scooter and electric-assist bicycle companies “drop” the devices in cities that do not have clear prohibitions against the scooters and bikes. Rock Hill is trying to get ahead of the companies, he said.

The pending ordinance prohibits the rental of scooters and bikes for a period of time, allowing the planning and development staff to research the issue, Youngblood said.

Youngblood said electric scooters and electric-assist bicycles have safety risks for operators and pedestrians.

She said the planning and development staff will research safety and parking issues related to scooters and bikes over the next few months, then present proposed regulations to the council.

Columbia enacted a one-year moratorium to study the same issue, Youngblood said. At the Aug. 12 meeting, Youngblood said it would take about five to six months for the staff to complete its study, The Herald previously reported.

Youngblood said Rock Hill also received an inquiry about starting a party bicycles business in the city.

The pending ordinance also prohibits party bicycles or “pedal pubs”, a multiple-passenger human-powered vehicle typically used to transport riders to different bars and breweries, for further study.

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Cailyn Derickson is a city government and politics reporter for The Herald, covering York, Chester and Lancaster counties. Cailyn graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has previously worked at The Pilot and The News and Observer.
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