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City warns scooter companies about sidewalk rider complaints; changes could be coming

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Salt Lake City officials say they are getting complaints that scooter riders are using sidewalks too much. They're now considering creating a local law, and want the scooter companies to help out. (Photo: KUTV)

Salt Lake City officials say they are getting complaints that scooter riders are using sidewalks too much. They're now considering creating a local law, and want the scooter companies to help out.

The city is focusing on high foot traffic areas. A proposed local law would cite riders for riding on a sidewalk in the core downtown areas.

Right now, there are about 2,000 scooters among four companies in Salt Lake City. That number may go to two companies, making those who want to stay left playing by a new set of rules.

“I hate how they're just littered around the city, and it looks like there's a bunch of children playing on razor scooters,” said Zane Brown, who rarely rides scooters.

Others, like Savannah West, love the scooters. West says she rides with her family all the time, but during the city's year-long test run, they've had their moments.

"On South Temple, we got yelled at because we were up on the sidewalks, but there aren't bike lanes everywhere," West said.

Jon Larsen is the head of Salt Lake's transportation division. On Monday, he sent an email to the scooter companies warning that if dramatic progress is not made, the city could impose mandatory slow zones, scooter free zones and curfews.

“That's a problem, and it's driving people away. We're hearing from people who say they don't feel safe coming downtown anymore,” Larsen said.

Scooter companies have installed reminders in their apps and signs on the scooters to not ride on sidewalks. They say they're willing to work with the city on GPS tracking to slow scooters down or make it impossible to park in certain zones.

The ordinance is being drafted and is expected to go before the council at an upcoming meeting.

Statements from scooter companies operating in Salt Lake City are as follows:

Bird: "Bird shares Salt Lake City's dedication to improving responsible riding practices. We take a number of concrete steps to remind our riders to follow the rules of the road, including: providing in-app safety messages as well as in-person safety events and helmet giveaways. Bird plans to partner with the Mayor's office on its Ride Your Wheels campaign, and we hope to collaborate further with the city on finding other creative solutions to address sidewalk riding."

Lime: "Lime is doing a number of things regarding sidewalk riding and plan to do more. They’ve added more visible stickers saying no riding on sidewalks, have in app banners saying no riding on sidewalks and are in process of putting tags on handles. Lime is working with city to establish geo-fence zones or no parking zones. Lime wants to make sure this program is successful."

Spin: "As far as we're aware, we've spent the most time and resources rectifying sidewalk riding in comparison to other companies.

Recently, in partnership with the City of Salt Lake and Bike Utah’s 1,000 Mile Program, we funded an intersection refresh that calms traffic on 300 E at 700 S through our Safe, Livable & Just Streets Program. We are working with communities across the country to rethink how streets can be designed for multimodal use.

Additional tactics we plan to use include placing stickers on our scooters that say “no riding on sidewalks,” in app messaging and emails to riders."


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