Record editorial: County makes the right call with electric scooter ban
Residents concerned about the possibility of our community being invaded by the app-based electric scooter trend can rest easy.
They don’t have to fret about having to dodge riders on the sidewalks of Kimball Junction or suffering the eyesore of scooters strewn haphazardly on the side of the road.
That’s because the Summit County Council banned electric scooter shares last week, preventing the possibility of companies such as Bird or Lime — two popular scooter services operating in many major cities — from implementing networks here. In doing so, the elected officials sided with what seems to be the prevailing opinion of their constituents. A recent public survey conducted by the county indicated opposition to the scooters, with many people worrying about the safety implications of throwing scooters into the mix on sidewalks with bike and pedestrian traffic.
While there has not been widespread use of electric scooters in Summit County, and no companies wanting to bring them here have emerged, the Council is wise to head off the issue. For one, the safety concerns are legitimate. According to news reports, several areas where scooter shares are prevalent have seen high numbers of users ending up in the emergency room. Cities with scooter shares have also encountered issues with users leaving the dockless devices scattered all over the place.
The calculus may have been different if electric scooters represented a way to help the county reach its transportation goals. They make more sense in urban areas like Salt Lake City, where it’s easier for residents and visitors to get around without the aid of a vehicle. Few people here would have used the scooters the same way they do the county’s popular e-bike share, for instance, which also presents safety concerns but allows riders to get from Kimball Junction to Park City proper in relatively quick fashion without having to get in a car.
More likely, people in Summit County would have primarily used the scooters to joyride around Kimball Junction with a couple of friends because there isn’t the existing infrastructure to make better use of them. And rather than creating pathways for scooters, the county is better off, as the survey respondents indicated, beefing up the bike share and access to public transit.
Fortunately, the County Council agreed, preemptively putting the brakes on electric scooters and eliminating the chance for them to become a problem.
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