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Bloomington Efforts To Regulate Electric Scooters

Electric scooters have been in Bloomngton since December. (Lindsey Wright)

Noon Edition airs on Fridays at noon on WFIU

Scooter companies are facing a deadline today to reach an agreement with the city to continue operating in Bloomington.

City leaders are implementing new safety measures while city council members come up with scooter ordinances.

Bird and Lime companies dropped off more than 500 scooters in September.

This week on Noon Edition as we talk to a panel of city leaders and safety professionals about the rollout of two scooter services in Bloomington.

Guests

​John Hamilton, Mayor of Bloomington, IN

Beth Rosenbarger, Planning Services Manager for the City of Bloomington

Shannon Bunger, Captain of Operations for the Indiana University Police Department

Lindsey Williams, Nurse Practitioner, Trauma Program Manager for IU Health Bloomington Hospital

Bird and Lime declined to make a representative available to participate in the show. 

In our conversation today we talked about different ways Bloomington is adapting to electric scooters. The scooters have been in town for over two months and everyone has been making changes to adjust.

Mayor John Hamilton says law enforcement has been issuing warnings to riders who do not obey the rules.

“We have started issuing warnings to people, dozens of them, to people downtown riding scooters inappropriately,” Hamilton says.  “We’ll start I think to issue citations and tickets for that. So it’s partly learning.”

Beth Rosenbarger says Bloomington’s city infrastructure doesn’t support scooters yet. There will be legislation to accommodate the new vehicles with protected lanes, separate boulevards and parking corrals.

“When we separate these modes, people comply,” Rosenbarger says. “As long as you provide a safe and comfortable place for people to use that mode, they’re more willing to use it.”

Shannon Bunger says the Police Department is not seeing a lot of scooter crashes on campus. When a crash happens, Indiana University Police Department treats it as a vehicle accident and creates a crash report.

“Fortunately, knock on wood, nobody’s just running over people. It’s more close calls, a nuisance,” Bunger says. “We’re really trying to get the message out to be a good neighbor.”

Lindsey Williams says that scooter related injuries can range from traumatic brain injury to a skinned knee. The hospital wasn’t prepared to track injuries related to scooters when they arrived in town.

“We’re all just trying to figure out what it is that we need to do,” Williams says. “Do we need to do injury prevention? Do we need to do education? Do we even really need to track it? Well, now we know that we do.”

Hamilton says despite disadvantages scooters might have, it’s important to have a wide range of mobility options in the community as we try to move away from depending on cars.

“It will look different a year from now, we’re still just two months into it,” Hamilton says. “But it was definitely a surprise to us the night they showed up.”

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