Indy Council Member: Electric Scooters Could be 'Positive'

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A city-county council member in Indianapolis says the flurry of dockless electric-powered scooters that has cropped up downtown could help bridge some of the city's public transportation gaps. Council Vice President Zach Adamson (D-17) cautions, however, that safety concerns have to be addressed. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Adamson said an additional form of point-to-point transportation "could absolutely be a positive" to the city. Two California-based companies, Bird Rides Inc. and Lime, have placed their scooters downtown to be driven for a fee and parked when and where riders finish their journey.

Adamson says he has talked with multiple constituents who believe the scooters are a safety hazard because they can be left anywhere and ridden on sidewalks and roads, causing pedestrians and drivers to have to dodge the two-wheelers. "Our first priority has to be the overall public safety of our thoroughfares," Adamson says. If the public can handle proposed legislation that would regulate where the scooters can travel, he adds, then expansion could be considered.

Council President Vop Osili (D-11) issued a statement to Inside INdiana Business that reads:

Council’s primary concern is the safety of our city's pedestrians, motorists, cyclists, and scooter-riders, and we have a responsibility to ensure that our public rights-of-way are ADA compliant and local Code is properly enforced. Council has begun the process of amending the Code to allow for the safe operation of electric scooters in our community by empowering Business & Neighborhood Services to regulate these new services. We encourage scooter-sharing services to cooperate with our city's officials to create a path for their legal operation in Indianapolis.

A committee has moved some rules governing the scooters' use to the full council. the regulations concern factors such as business compliance, where the scooters can be parked in public, whether the businesses need a license to operate, safety equipment requirements and mandating how the scooters have to be parked to keep rights-of-way clear.

"I think adding another added step in the possibilities for people to get around and connect within the city is a positive thing as long as it's not something that creates a hardship, or a burden, or a fear, or anxiety to the people that are trying to traverse the sidewalks and trails," Adamson said.

Lime General Operations Manager Nathan Hasse discussed the Indianapolis customer response to the rental scooters:

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