Legislature passes bill regulating electric scooters | ParkRecord.com

Legislature passes bill regulating electric scooters

People walk by electric scooters parked near the sidewalk in downtown Salt Lake City on Sept. 20, 2018.
Christopher Samuels/Park Record

The Utah Legislature passed a bill in the final days of the session last week to regulate the use of electric scooter shares across the state, which Summit County officials say limits their ability to manage the industry.

The bill, S.B. 139, was passed by the Senate on Wednesday, March 13. As of Monday, it awaited a signature from Gov. Gary Herbert or it will go into effect in less than 60 days. The bill would allow local authorities to manage the use of electric scooters as long as the restrictions are consistent with bike regulations.

Sen. Kirk Cullimore, R-Sandy, said the bill outlines guidelines for the operations of electric scooter shares and puts laws in place for their use on public streets. Electric scooters have become an increasingly popular alternative transportation option over the last year in places like Salt Lake City.

“The intent of the bill is to create a framework where e-scooters will be regulated,” Cullimore said in an email. “Many cities are anxious to get this ride-sharing option in their city in an effort to make public transit more accessible and convenient. I expect you will see more e-scooters throughout the state, particularly along TRAX lines or front runner lines.”

Summit County’s transportation officials, however, say the legislation would limit the county’s ability to regulate the industry and put guidelines in place for private companies to operate in the county.

The county created a temporary zoning ordinance for electric scooters in October 2018, which is set to expire next month. The county’s temporary ordinance established standards for operation that cover franchise agreements, business licenses, areas of use and impound provisions. Users are not allowed to park the scooters on trails or next to bus stops.

Summit County and Park City’s transportation officials are trying to decide what to do after the ordinance expires. A public survey was posted last month to determine whether residents want the county to create a permanent ordinance for electric scooters or ban them entirely.

Caroline Rodriguez, Summit County’s transportation planning director, said officials plan to review the final bill to fully understand how it affects the county’s authority.

“Then we’ll look at that in conjunction with the survey results and check with the County Council to see how they want to proceed,” she said.

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