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Bloomington City Council Debates Adopting Proposed Scooter Regulations

Two electric scooters on the streets in Bloomington.

The Bloomington City Council took a preliminary vote on a new ordinance that sets stricter rules for electric scooter operation. (Tyler Lake, WTIU/WFIU News)

Bloomington city leaders are working toward adopting new rules on motorized scooter use.

Wednesday night, city council members debated a new ordinance that sets stricter rules for electric scooter operation, including parking and safety measures.

The proposed rules would replace an interim agreement with scooter companies Bird and Lime which was set in place after the companies arrived in Bloomington with little notice last year.

Residents have voiced their concerns with the new method of transportation and provided feedback to the city through a scooter survey conducted in March.

Bloomington resident Kaleb Crain says he speaks for members of the disabled community who struggle navigating city sidewalks with the scooters.

“Ban scooters from parking on sidewalks period, give them those painted boxes, find other ways," he says.

The ordinance proposes designated street parking areas for scooters, bans riding in designated city sidewalk zones, and limits maximum riding speed to 15 miles per hour.

But some council members were concerned the regulations may not be enough and grappled with further reducing the maximum speed and even a complete scooter ban.

After a preliminary vote, three council members recommended passing the ordinance, the remaining six chose to abstain.

The council will propose amendments to the ordinance and revisit the ordinance next week.

Bloomington’s Director of Economic & Sustainable Development Alex Crowley says although the public has expressed their concerns, multi-modal forms of transportation play an important role in creating a sustainable city.

“They’re all part of a fabric of mobility options that hopefully work together to reduce the reliance on single occupancy vehicle use," he says.

The proposed ordinance outlines the following regulations:

Licensing:

-Shared-use scooter companies must obtain a license from the Board of Public Works in order to operate

-Terms of individual licenses run for one year and must be renewed annually

Operations

  • Riders must yield to the right of way to pedestrians
  • Pass pedestrians with at least 3 feet of distance
  • Shared scooter users must be at least 18 years old
  • Scooters cannot exceed 15 mph.
  • Riding will be prohibited on sidewalks in specified city dismount zones.
    • These zones include: 4th Street from Indiana to Grant,
    • Kirkwood Ave from Indiana Ave to Morton,
    • 6th street from Walnut to Morton
    • Walnut Street from Fourth to 7th Street
    • College Ave. from 4th to 7th Street

- Scooters will not be available for rent between 10:01 PM and 5:59 AM

Parking

  • Only park on a permitted sidewalk in an upright position and leaving a straight, clear path
  • May not obstruct parking spaces, loading zones, driveways, ADA accessibility areas, ect.
  • Riders are required to take a picture of the location of their parked scooter concluding the ride.

 

Data Sharing

-The ordinance also required that scooter companies report collision and accident data which can be made publically available each month.

-To continue engagement with the public, the ordinance requires the city to develop a webpage that outlines Bloomington’s scooter regulations.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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