An Open Letter to Indy Scooter Lovers

Posted: Updated:

As the popular Lime and Bird electric scooters make their return to Indianapolis, most of the city is excited. In fact, in its permit application Bird cited Indianapolis as having some of the highest ridership rates they had seen since introducing the concept.

While the scooters were here, you may have noticed them sitting alone, unaccompanied, on sidewalks or tucked into doorways. For most people, this is not a big deal - you step over them, move them out of the way, maybe even try them out since they're right there. It gives you something to talk about with your friends, gets you involved in the city in a more active way, and can save you quite a bit of time on your foot-based commute. But (there's always a but), there's an often-overlooked population who can’t take such a cavalier approach: people with disabilities.

The innovative thing about the scooters is that you don’t have to return them to a set location when you’re done. You can park them wherever, and then the next person can hop on using their app. It’s really remarkably clever. Here’s the thing, though; when people leave the scooters wherever, that often means obstructing the sidewalk, blocking a wheelchair ramp or otherwise making it more dangerous for pedestrian traffic. Furthermore, if someone is riding their scooter on a sidewalk or a trail, it could cause some serious problems for other people using the walkway.

People who are blind or who have low vision may not be able to navigate around scooters. People using wheelchairs or mobility devices need enough clearance that they don’t knock a scooter over or injure themselves. Deaf people or people who are hard of hearing may not get forewarned if someone is scooting up behind them, potentially causing injury.

These aren’t fringe cases, either; a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention report says that 1 in 4 Americans has a disability (although not all disabilities will prevent someone from moving a scooter, fair enough). Still, 25 percent of our community—our friends, our neighbors, our peers, our coworkers, our family—is disabled in some way. That’s no small amount.

The Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities wants to encourage people to enjoy the scooters; have fun with them! New regulations with the scooters say you can’t ride on sidewalks or trails and you must park them leaving at least four feet of unobstructed space. This is great, but needs help to actually happen.

Please remember that every wherever is someone else’s where they need to be, and plan accordingly. Park your scooters considerately, move scooters that are in the way and be a good citizen. Everyone will benefit.

Christine Dahlberg is executive director of the Indiana Governor's Council For People With Disabilities.

  • Perspectives

    • Guide to Leaving a Legacy

      American philosopher William James once said, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” Have you ever stopped to think about the impact you want to have on the world? Each day—and every dollar—is an opportunity to make a difference. Not sure where to start? Here are several ideas to get you on your way!   Your Presence Is a Present Not every charitable-minded person is financially positioned to give money to favorite...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Martha Hoover (left) pictured with Inside INdiana Business Television Host Gerry Dick in 2016.

      Hoosier Restaurateur Makes InStyle's 'Badass 50' List

      A Hoosier restaurateur has been recognized in InStyle Magazine’s recently released third edition Badass Women issue. The issue includes a bi-annual Badass 50 feature which spotlights dedicated women from the spheres of science, social justice, law, entertainment, politics, and other industries.

    • Coy: Interest in 16 Tech Growing

      For nearly 20 years, many wondered if the 16 Tech Innovation District on the near west side of Indianapolis would ever happen.  But last week, the project reached a visible milestone with the topping out ceremony for its anchor building.  Chief Executive Officer Bob Coy says now that progress can actually be visualized, interest is building for a talent attraction and retention project that has spanned four mayoral administrations.  “We have non-binding letters of...
    • Picture Courtesy: Indianapolis Airport Authority

      Indy Airport Among 'World's Best Domestic Airports'

      Travel + Leisure Magazine has named Indianapolis International Airport one of readers' favorite domestic airports in the world. The airport landed the second spot on the magazine’s 2019 World’s Best Awards. .

    • (photo courtesy of Rich Nye/WTHR)

      Thr3e Wise Men Broad Ripple Site Heading to Auction

      The site of the former Thr3e Wise Men restaurant and brewery in Indianapolis' Broad Ripple neighborhood is going up for auction next month. Indianapolis-based Key Auctioneers says the auction will include the facility's 30-barrel brewing system, restaurant and bar equipment, and three-way liquor license. The property is set for both an on-site and online auction August 1.

    • (photo courtesy IPFW)

      Purdue Fort Wayne Acquires Land for South Campus

      Purdue University Fort Wayne has officially closed on a three-story, 77,000-square-foot building and approximately 13 acres of land. The university paid $3.8 million for the property, which could become the new home for the Richard T. Doermer School of Business.