Denver may force electric scooters into bike lanes

DENVER -- Denver Public Works and two city council members announced a proposed plan on Wednesday that would make changes to electric scooter rules in Denver.

Under the proposed rules, most scooters would have to operate in the bike lane. Currently, users are allowed to ride the dockless scooters on the sidewalk.

The proposed bill would classify the scooters as "Electric Mobility Scooters" (EMS).

Here are the proposed rules:

  • The scooter must operate in a bike lane, if one is available, not exceeding the speed limit of 15mph.
  • If a bike lane isn’t an option, the scooter will be allowed to ride on the roadway, if the maximum speed limit of the roadway does not exceed 30mph. When riding on the roadway, the scooter must stay to the right of the road.
  • If a bike lane isn’t available, and the roadway has a speed limit greater than 30mph, then the scooter may operate on the sidewalk.
  • When riding on the sidewalk, the scooter may not exceed a speed of 6mph and must yield to pedestrians at all times.

"It’s people’s safety. It’s the scooter driver safety, as well. And our right of way just isn't’ that ride for accommodating that," said Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman, who's introducing the plan.

She and other councilors have received dozens of complaints about the scooters on sidewalks.

"They just go hauling right by you. And you’re like, 'Hey - wait...I’m walking here,'" said Sarah Romero, who works on the 16th Street Mall and sees the scooters almost every day.

However, not everyone wants the scooters shifted to the street.

"I think that’s more dangerous," Kyle Shay told FOX31, as he was riding a scooter Wednesday afternoon. "I can avoid people. But if a car is going a lot faster than I am, I feel like that would risk my life."

The proposal has to be debated by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at a meeting next Tuesday. The bill will then head to a vote before the full city council, probably in January, before it becomes official.

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