Texas City Contemplates Proposed E-Scooter Rules After Test

The ordinance in Huntsville, Texas, which is still subject to approval, determines where e-scooters can and can’t be ridden, allowing for riders to operate them on sidewalks, where bicycles aren’t allowed.

by Joseph Brown, The Huntsville Item / December 5, 2019
David Kidd

(TNS) — The Huntsville, Texas, City Council received a briefing Tuesday on new e-scooter rules after a “successful” trial period.

The proposed ordinance, which is subject to approval by the City Council, clearly puts into city law where they can and can’t be ridden. It would allow for riders to operate on sidewalks, where bicycles aren’t allowed.

“We have been pleased through the pilot program with not only how riders are taking care of the scooters, but how they are not leaving the scooters everywhere,” GOAT Huntsville owner Brad Warner said. “We aren’t experiencing any of the horror stories that you hear in other cities.”

The ordinance would also limit the amount of total scooters available for rent, capping it at 150 devices. Currently, GOAT Huntsville operates 75 units.

Scooter companies have lauded the many benefits of their devices, which they see as a way to bridge people’s first and last mile of transportation, encouraging them to get out of their cars and onto public transit and thereby reducing traffic and greenhouse gas emissions.

But the relationship between pedestrians and scooter users on the sidewalk has presented the biggest challenge with the new dockless technology in Texas, leading to an increase in emergency room visits for both pedestrians and riders.

However, those issues have stayed away from Huntsville.

“There have been a few minor bumps and spills, but nothing major reported to us,” Huntsville Police Chief Kevin Lunsford said. “We issued one or two citations over the six month trial period.”

The ordinance does not address personal scooters.

“That is something that we should probably address in the future, but it should be so that shared mobility riders and personal riders follow under the same rules,” Lunsford added.

A vote on the ordinance is expected at the Dec. 17 meeting.

©2019 The Huntsville Item (Huntsville, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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