Scooters And One Wheels

Salt Lake Metropolis is enacting new e-scooter guidelines that target warning bells, sidewalks, and reckless parking

Salt Lake City is enacting new e-scooter rules that focus on warning bells, sidewalks, and reckless parking

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune File Photo) This July 3, 2018 file photo shows Jenna Dellorusso (left) and Cassandra Better with a pair of dockless e-scooters on Salt Lake City’s high street. After years of trying to regulate the scooters through agreements and piece rules, the capital has finally passed a comprehensive regulation designed to ensure that the devices have clear rules for the road, safety features and liability insurance.

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Salt Lake City Council wrapped up 2020 by putting an end to what Chairman Chris Wharton called the “scooter pocalypse” and finally enacting a regulation that governed the rental and use of e-scooters.

New rules, passed Tuesday night, focus on safety and sidewalk cleaning, although the council did not set specific speed limits or slow zones.

E-scooters must be equipped with warning bells, a secondary braking system, GPS as well as clearly visible ID numbers and company contact information. Drivers are prohibited from exiting the devices in areas that obstruct pedestrians and traffic, including parking lots, UTA platforms, within 15 feet of access points or driveways to buildings, and within 15 feet of traffic lights or supply boxes.

Scooter rental companies require drivers to submit pictures showing that they have properly parked.

Riders must also follow the same traffic rules that apply to bicycles, including the absence of sidewalks in the city center.

Violating this policy is a violation that can result in a fine of up to $ 750.

Drivers are also prohibited from operating scooters when they are drunk or drugged. This will be penalized as a Class B offense, punishable by a fine of up to $ 1,000 and a maximum of 6 months in prison.

The regulations mandate that electronic scooter companies must obtain a business license and insurance before operating.

Salt Lake City originally proposed charging $ 100 or more per scooter each year, which the companies refused, preferring a per-trip fee instead. The council reached a compromise and charged $ 30 per scooter and 10 cents per trip. The proceeds will be used to finance program monitoring.

The council unanimously approved the new provisions at its last meeting of the year, excluding council member Ana Valdemoros, who will end 2020 with a new baby.

Not so long ago, e-scooters lying on the city sidewalks causing near-miss pedestrians were one of the toughest issues the city council faced. Then 2020 saw a deadly pandemic, a noxious earthquake, economic upheaval, weeks of occasionally devastating police protests, a storm with hurricanes and many late nights for the city’s elected officials. All of these pressing issues put the scooters on their to-do list.

“2020 was the longest 12 months of my life,” said Wharton, speaking before the council at its last meeting as chairman. “I’ve gained more than a few gray hairs on my head.”

The new regulation “Dockless Shared Mobility” received the green light without any discussion in the Council, although it has been the subject of much debate since 2018.

Several scooter companies have expressed support for the new rules at previous council meetings, including Spin and Lime. These operators have spent the summer running awareness campaigns to help drivers understand safety and the rules to come.

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