- Associated Press - Sunday, September 22, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - City leaders in Salt Lake City threatened to crack down on electric scooters amid a spike in injuries and growing complaints of sidewalk riders from residents.

The City Council will consider an ordinance that would regulate the scooters in the coming weeks, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“There is a sense that scooter riders feel entitled to the sidewalk, even when the sidewalk is crowded and even when they are next to a dedicated bike lane,” wrote John Larsen, the city’s transportation director, in an email earlier this week to companies who provide the scooters. “They either don’t know or don’t care about the rules. We’ve made it clear that this is an important issue to the city since last summer, but we have seen little to no progress.”

Under consideration are citations for sidewalk riders in parts of downtown, mandatory slow zones and curfews, among other changes.

City leaders are also discussing a limit on scooter vendors, prioritizing companies who show they can curb sidewalk scootering.

There are no formal rules governing the scooters, only a “temporary operating agreement” between the cities and companies that dictates how many scooters can be in the city and where they can be parked.

Scooter advocates have praised the mode of transportation for its ability to ease traffic and greenhouse emissions and calling it a safer, faster alternative to driving.

Some have said sidewalk ridership shows a need for more bike lanes in the city, so people can safely ride on the streets.

“Respectfully, if you would stop prioritizing cars over other modes and build more bike infrastructure, this would be far less of an issue!” Mike Christensen, executive director of the Utah Rail Passengers Association, tweeted to Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “I wish this much concern was being shown to automakers and other auto-related industries for the constant threat posed to people walking, biking, and riding scooters in our community.”

Still, many are wary of sidewalk scootering. Emergency rooms have seen a drastic spike in injuries involving electric scooters including from broken noses, facial lacerations and blunt head trauma.

Several scooter companies currently operate within the city’s boundaries. Two of those companies, Lime and Spin, told the Tribune they were working to address sidewalk ridership with in-app reminders and warning stickers on the scooters.

Despite the challenges, city leaders “want the scooter program to work,” Larsen told the Tribune. “They’re a popular thing and they’re still incredibly safe compared to a car.”


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

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