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Salt Lake City discusses new electric scooters, and where they fit downtown and beyond

Posted at 9:43 PM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 23:43:02-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The electric scooters zipping around Salt Lake City are the focus of a new online survey. On Tuesday, the Salt Lake City Council got a report on the findings so far.

“By far the biggest complaint that we are getting is about sidewalk riding," said Jennifer McGrath, the Deputy Director of Community and Neighborhoods.

It can be confusing. Scooters are not allowed on sidewalks in the downtown area. Elsewhere in the city, scooters can be used on sidewalks.

“We have seen, based on reports and studies from across the country, that the longer the scooters are sort of out on the streets, the lower those numbers of complaints about sidewalk riding are,” said McGrath.

Currently, three companies have a license to offer the scooters in Salt Lake City. However, only two are actually operating and each is capped at 500 scooters. To reach the 500 scooter threshold, each company has to ensure that 100 scooters start each day west of I-15, part of the city’s effort to make sure the scooters are available for everyone.

“They are choosing to ride a scooter instead of taking their car and that’s a big deal,” said McGrath.

The city is looking at scooters as part of a possible variety of future transportation options. Smaller, electric options, like scooters, help reduce parking needs and emissions. But regulating scooters and any future transportation option is difficult for the simple fact that they haven’t been around long enough to produce large data sets. Salt Lake City is requiring scooter operators to give the city a monthly report. The first was received this month.

In early October, the city is planning to start an on-the-street education campaign to teach riders the rules of the road. For now, it is hoping more online feedback can help guide decisions to keep scooters available and safe. You can take the survey at the link below.