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Those traveling through Vienna will now see a new sight – e-scooters – in their midst.

The Vienna Town Council in December 2019 approved a pilot program allowing operators of what are called “shared-mobility devices” (SMDs) to provide service within the town’s boundaries. Bird is the first firm to be approved to operate.

“Our SMD pilot is for one year during which time we will gather information about use, safety and other details to present to the Town Council,” said Andrew Jinks, a transportation engineer for the town government. “The Town Council will use the report to inform the direction of a permanent ordinance.”

Mayor Linda Colbert and Town Manager Mercury Payton each took a Bird e-scooter for an inaugural spin on the Town Green recently. “The operation is pretty straightforward, and it seems very user-friendly,” Colbert said.

Like bicycles, electric scooters are permitted for use on streets, sidewalks and shared-use paths in Vienna. Speed is regulated by GPS technology, depending on location.

Due to the roadway speed limit and volume of vehicles on Nutley Street S.W. and Maple Avenue, it is anticipated that riders will use the sidewalk for safety reasons, town officials said.

On these streets, and in the vicinity of any school, park and recreation center, the e-scooter speed is limited to 8 miles per hour. In less congested areas, the scooters can travel up to 15 miles per hour.

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