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As scooters flood the streets, Salt Lake City leaders voice concerns over laws and safety

Posted at 9:52 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 23:52:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY - If you've walked the streets of Salt Lake City lately, you've probably noticed a rideshare scooter or bike on nearly every corner.

"I saw one of these things and I said I'm going to see if I can make it around the block," said one resident, who joked at how easy it was to use in his 50's. "It's very cool."

"I've been on two wheels since 1962," said another rider. Unlike most, he has been riding his own scooter for the past 15 years.

But popularity aside, there are a few concerns that have some city representatives pumping the brakes on the city's newest addition.

"I don't think that the communication from scooter ride to scooter user has been very good in terms of what is expected of them," said Christian Harrison with the Salt Lake Community Council. "For example, the law is you're not allowed to bicycle on sidewalks downtown. So, where does that leave scooters that go faster than bicycles?"

It's a question that even Salt Lake Police admit they don't know all the answers too. Partly because it's a brand new issue the city hasn't dealt with before. Harrison claims that Salt Lake has allowed three times the volume of scooters and bikes on the streets than major metropolitan cities like Chicago.

"We're trying to be open-minded and flexible," contends Jon Larsen, Salt Lake's Transportation Director.

He said the city will be doing monthly checkups on how the companies are operating in downtown and reserve the right to pull the plug on the operation whenever they want.  Harrison contends that rules should have been put in place before the scooters and bikes were allowed to drop on the streets. Meanwhile, Larsen believes the fit is better worked out over the coming months.

"By doing this pilot, it gives us a chance to tweak the ordinance to make it a good fit.”