In an Aug. 7 Law360 article, Michele Satterlund examined steps state and local governments are taking to open the use of sidewalks to new technologies such as delivery robots and stand-up scooters.
Her analysis, “Sidewalks: The Next Mobility Frontier,” notes that some cities and states are “recognizing that the changing nature of technology has the power to expand mobility options and provide greater choices for how people and goods move.”
“While local control of sidewalks has long been the working model in most states, the changing nature of technology is causing a reassessment of who should craft these rules, and whether local control of sidewalks needs to be revisited as a way to better accommodate new technologies,” wrote Satterlund, a McGuireWoods partner and a senior vice president for state government relations with McGuireWoods Consulting in Richmond.
Satterlund pointed to the significance of a recently passed Virginia law prohibiting political subdivisions from regulating unmanned aerial vehicles. While the law is not specific to sidewalks, she wrote, the legislature’s decision provides insight on lawmakers’ willingness to adopt uniform rules for businesses that want to test and develop new mobility technologies.