DENVER – Those little electric scooters available for rent in some communities are no longer considered ‘toy vehicles’, are now legal to ride on the street, and are subject to local regulation.
In recent years several rental services have moved in on Colorado cities and across the country with a sleek, hip way to get around town in short distances, without the cost of maintaining a vehicle. Unfortunately, it also did away with many renters sense of responsibility as scooters are often found just left in the last place they were used.
Prior to HB19-1221 becoming law, the ‘toy vehicles’ could only be operated on sidewalks. Now, they can be regulated and riders face the same consequences for traffic violations as anyone else using the road on a bicycle or electric bicycle. Although this is now on the state law books, it does not override any previously enacted local regulations of e-scooters.
Denver has pilot program in place covering the appropriate use of ‘dockless vehicles” which only allows the use of e-scooters “in bike lanes or in the roadway on streets with speed limits of 30mph or less. If either of those aren’t an option, electric scooters can operate on the sidewalk, travelling at a speed of 6mph or less.”
Riders must also obey all signs indicating “no ride/no parking areas.” Companies that rent must make the e-scooters available at bus or light rail stations, and renters are encouraged to return them to similar spots.
Furthermore, e-scooters are not to be left “in a manner that does not impede pedestrian clear paths or access in the right of way.”
Boulder City Council passed a 9-month moratorium on e-scooters just this week. “We are concerned about e-scooters coming into the city without regulatory framework,” City Attorney Tom Carr said. There was discussion about potential GPS technologies to regulate speed and possibly a way to ensure they are left in more appropriate locations.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the companies that rent the scooters across the country don’t operate in Colorado Springs. But all of them: Lime, Bird, Lyft, Razor and Spin (to name a few) encourage customers or fans to work towards expansion into new cities.