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Salt Lake City Struggles to Establish E-Scooter Policies

Published on May 14, 2020 at 7:22 am in Electric Scooters.

E-scooter on road

E-scooters became available in Salt Lake City over two years ago. From then until now, the city has been in the process of instituting new rules to govern the use of the rentable scooters; however, recent meetings show that those laws are no closer to fruition.

Current proposals have been under construction for well over a year. The council addressed the matter at a meeting on May 5, but asked for further work from the administration of Mayor Erin Mendenhall to better determine how to handle contracts with e-scooter vendors.

Opinions of the scooters have varied. Some residents have made complaints about the misuse of scooters. The city received a number of emails from pedestrians who experienced encounters with e-scooter riders. Most worried about their safety as pedestrians and discussed the potential for accidents. According to Council Chairman Chris Wharton, e-scooters are the number one complaint he hears from his constituents in District 3. During discussions, Wharton expressed the need for slower speeds, strict enforcement on sidewalks, and collecting fees that recoup any losses to Salt Lake City.

For those who have ridden the vehicles, however, they’ve expressed a high level of enthusiasm and believe they are a great solution to solving first-mile/last-mile transit connections.

To solve some of the issues residents have with e-scooters and to reduce the accident risk, the city is considering establishing a competitive bidding process. While there are five electric scooter vendors in the city now, the bidding process could reduce that number to one or two.

Currently, vendors only need to secure a business license and sign a temporary operating agreement that details things like maximum allowable vehicles and where they can be deployed. The ordinance proposal, however, includes additional fees. If adopted, e-scooter businesses in the city could see annual charges that range from $130,000 to $176,000 per 1,000 vehicles.

In addition to addressing the issue of e-scooter vendors, the city is also uncertain as how to enforce any new rules they enact. While city parking enforcement could be utilized to start citing illegal scooter riding, there are also discussions that it would be better to have third-party vendors assume responsibilities for policing and impounding improperly parked vehicles.

As Salt Lake City continues to work toward developing e-scooter policies and laws, it’s important for residents to understand that they have rights in the event they are injured because of negligence. If you’ve been hurt in an e-scooter crash and are looking to recover compensation for your losses, we can help.

The Rideshare Law Group understands how confusing legal matters can be when a lack of concrete laws fails to establish what happens when someone gets hurt. Contact us today for more information about pursuing a personal injury claim.