FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Fort Wayne City Council members are expected to address a bill that would add additional regulations to motorized scooters, including the popular VeoRide scooters in downtown Fort Wayne.
City of Fort Wayne officials said there were 110,000 unique runners, 200,000 different rides and 350,000 miles ridden last year.
VeoRide has a license with the City of Fort Wayne as part of an ongoing pilot program created to test the viability of electric scooters, officials said. The city of Fort Wayne has decided to extend the pilot program for another year to test and improve the system without the complications of a pandemic, city leaders added.
No taxpayer dollars support the program, and VeoRide is responsible for all equipment and liability.
A Fort Wayne Police Department official told Fort Wayne NBC News officers often receive complaints about people driving scooters dangerously. He said the bill would help officers deal with complaints.
“I have received complaints. The downtown patrol has received complaints. There is nothing we can do about it because it is not against the law. The bill is created to at least give officers a tool that, hey if I have a complaint about this dangerous behavior then I can actually do something to stop them, ”said Sgt. Benjamin Messick, Fort Wayne Police Department.
City of Fort Wayne officials have shared details of Bill G-21-04-18.
The ordinance has several new regulations on motorized scooters, including the following:
- Age requirement
- Special events
- Motorized scooter operations
- Ride close to pedestrians
- No pets allowed
- Only authorized rider
- Collection of vehicles without a dock
- No one under the age of eighteen will be allowed to rent or drive a motorized scooter.
- No one will be permitted to operate a motorized scooter within the designated limits of a Special Event for which a Special Event Permit has been obtained.
MOTORIZED SCOOTER OPERATION:
- Anyone driving a motorized scooter on a street will be granted all rights and be responsible for all obligations applicable to the driver of a vehicle. Anyone driving a motorized scooter on a sidewalk will be granted all rights and be responsible for all obligations applicable to a pedestrian.
- A motorized scooter driver will not pass stationary vehicles in a traffic lane.
DRIVING CLOSE TO PEDESTRIANS:
- A motorized scooter rider on a sidewalk, multi-use trail, multi-use trial and on a crosswalk must yield to any pedestrian.
- A motorized scooter rider must leave at least three feet of space for a pedestrian to pass. If the rider is unable to do so, the rider must stop, descend or exit the facility.
- A motorized scooter driver must give a warning before passing a pedestrian while traveling in the same direction.
NO PETS ALLOWED:
- No one will be allowed to ride a motorized scooter while controlling an animal, whether by hand, on a leash or by any other method.
- It is an offense for more than one person to be on a motorized scooter at the same time.
WITHDRAWAL OF VEHICLES WITHOUT DOCK:
- If the City finds a motorized scooter without a dock on a sidewalk, driveway, street, highway or other public place in the city, the City can immediately move the vehicle without a dock to an appropriate holding location.
** MOBILITY SYSTEM WITHOUT DOCKLESS. A shared mobility system or service that provides dockless vehicles for short-term rental for point-to-point journeys authorized to operate within the city, including devices for transportation or transportation purposes.
- If one or more people break the rules, they can be fined $ 50 to $ 2,500.
NBC News from Fort Wayne has been touring downtown to talk with people about the new bill.
Alex Hall and Branden Shank have said they want people to be safe, but the ordinance will only create more problems.
“A lot more people are going to be mad at the fees or the fines… This is going to be a backlash,” Hall said.
“It’s going to stop him,” Shank said. “People will have to walk again. It’s not going to be good.”
Rachel Heath said scooters help attract more people to the city center, which can help local businesses. She said she was concerned that the new rules would discourage people from riding.
“These (VeoRides) have been placed here so that we can take advantage of what’s new,” said Heath. “You spend all that money in this city, and that (VeoRides) makes it easier to get around.”
However, other people have shared different opinions on this with NBC News from Fort Wayne.
Robert Carter said he loves scooters and believes it can help many kids who don’t have a car to get to work. However, he said he saw several children recklessly ride them and believed the ordinance could keep people safe.
“If people aren’t responsible with them, they need consequences or something,” Carter said. “And that would deter people from doing stupid things.”
NBC News from Fort Wayne spoke with Councilors Geoff Paddock and Russ Jehl about the bill.
City Councilor Russ Jehl said he believes motorized scooters are dangerous and are damaging downtown Fort Wayne. He said he supported the bill and believed it could help improve the downtown area.
“It is very important to regulate them (motorized scooters) and to try to restore order, as well as some safety elements,” said Councilor Russ Jehl, (right) of Fort Wayne City Council. . “And I am delighted to say the least that we are taking these steps.
Councilor Geoff Paddock said he believes scooters can help by providing affordable and environmentally friendly transportation to residents. However, he said the ordinance can promote the importance of road safety.
“I think this is a good step forward, and we will definitely be looking at it over the next few weeks to see what the bill says and what it could do,” Councilor Geoff Paddock said, (D) Fort Wayne City Council.
A city of Fort Wayne official told NBC News of Fort Wayne that city council will initially address the ordinance at next week’s city council meeting, but the ordinance will likely be postponed until the following week.