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Electric Scooter Share Programs Hit Indianapolis

If you've walked around downtown Indianapolis or Broad Ripple lately you've probably seen one of the two new scooter companies that offer electric scooters to scoot around town.

But with new technology comes new problems and possible danger.

After a two hour discussion and debate on Thursday, June 28th, the City-County Council's Public Works Committee voted in favor of sending a proposal about dockless scooters to the Council's full board.

Indy Bird Scooter Insta.pngThe City-County Council is working on a compromise that would allow electric scooter companies to keep doing business in Indianapolis under a new set of regulations.

The IndyStar reports that the rules would clarify where the scooters can be parked and ridden, and would:

  • Create rules a business must comply with in order to operate in the city.

  • Determine how devices can be parked in the public right of way.

  • Create a business license that would make it "illegal to operate a shared mobility in the public right-of-way unless that business obtains a license from the Department of Business and Neighborhood Services." The license fee would be $15,000 per year, plus $1 a day per device.

  • Require information and safety education, which mandates that all devices come with a bell, a speedometer and a lamp on the front and back of the device.

  • Require that the devices be parked upright and may not block entrances, driveways or streets.

The business license would regulate the number of devices, the locations where the device may be parked and place limits on geographic areas where the devices can operate.

This certainly helps, but still leaves quite a bit of grey area for liability.

Bird states on their website, "no riding on sidewalks unless local law requires or permits - it endangers members of our community who want to walk freely". While also encouraging scooter riders to, "ride in bike lanes or close to the right curb".

Electric scooters first hit Indianapolis streets with Bird Electric Scooters arriving on June 15th followed shortly by Lime launching on June 23rd.

Since, Indianapolis has asked Bird Electric Scooters to suspend operations for 30 days while it considers regulations. Bird, however, denied the request, just as it has in other cities, saying in a statement to the IndyStar, it will continue "to serve our new Indy riders as we work with city leaders to create a regulatory framework that works best for the people of Indianapolis and helps them meet their goals."

"These devices are here in Indianapolis now, we need a framework to be able to regulate those businesses that are here," said Brian Madison, interim director of the Department of Business and Neighborhood. "Right now we don't have that. They're simply operating against current code."

These electric scooters can reach speeds of up to 15 miles per hour. The cost is an initial fee of $1 per ride and 15 cents per minute. The scooters are dockless, meaning once riders are done using them, they can park them wherever.

At Tabor Law Firm in Indianapolis, we recognize the challenges that these electric scooters present when dealing with an accident or injury. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of someone else please call Tabor Law Firm today.

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