Denver grapples with scooter war as new operator enters market

DENVER -- The Mile-High City is in the middle of a love-hate relationship with electric scooters.

There are 1,400 scooters in Denver. They’re found on sidewalks, bike paths and streets.

Razor entered the market by deploying 350 new scooters this week.

The summer brought in scooter operators Lime, Lyft and Bird. Tourists and commuters have praised the technology as an easy way to get from point A to point B.

Others have sounded off with complaints to the City and County of Denver.

Dozens of complaints show residents are becoming increasingly irritated with scooters zipping by them on sidewalks at their max of 15 mph.

Other complaints draw attention to scooters blocking the public’s right of way on sidewalks.

“You've got two or three stacked up. That makes it hard for handicapped people,” a wheelchair-bound man said.

The scooters arrived without city approval. The city responded by confiscating the vehicles but eventually gave the scooters back.

Denver Public Works is coordinating with operators to find common ground.

The apps require customers to be 18 or older and be a licensed driver. The apps also encourage people to wear helmets, but there’s no mechanism to enforce that.

Denver-area urgent care centers have been reporting scooter-related injuries that include lacerations and blunt head trauma. UC Health Urgent Care on Steele Street sees three to five scooter injuries a week.

Denver officials said it considers the scooters toys but realizes regulation is needed to keep people safe.

Currently, electric scooters are allowed on sidewalks.

They aren't street legal and should not be on bike paths. City officials are working through local and state law to one day allow scooters on bike paths.

The city says it’s working to create designated scooter parking areas near transit stops.

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