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Readers: Scooters Think They Own the Streets!

On August 6, the Department of Public Works asked Denver City Council during a committee hearing to continue allowing scooters but to ban them from sidewalks. Scooters have been particularly tricky to regulate, since they were dropped in Denver without the city's permission and have gained in popularity, so much so that officials had to act.

Readers took a spin trying to understand Public Works' move.

Explains Jacob:

You’re crazy if you ride on the sidewalk anyway.

Notes Jesse:

Should ban the stupid danger traps in general; it’s just a matter of time before someone dies on one.

Says Timothy:

Great, now everyone’s insurance premiums will increase again.

Argues Byron:

Scooters should be in bike lanes. The bike lanes should have a curb to protect them from traffic and to keep them out of the way of automobiles. The city of Montreal has an excellent bike path system. Long Beach (not on the street, but same basic idea) has a divider keeping pedestrian and fast moving things on wheels (bike, skates, skateboard etc.). Switching back and forth between sidewalks and streets for the scooters every six months is just ridiculous.

Explains Leah:

I have several photos of scooters and those new bikes parked in totally ridiculous, unsafe spots in the middle of sidewalks all over downtown. If you have a mobility issue or are vision-impaired, you are at great risk of injury. And even just regular pedestrians without special needs are getting run off the sidewalks because of these things.

Wonders Casey:

What's gonna hurt more? A walker getting hit by a scooter ORRRRR a scooter getting hit by a car? Please. Tell me. These damn scooter riders think they own these streets!!

Argues Joe:

The ban will probably be as poorly enforced as the ban on bicycles on sidewalks, so have at it, I guess.

Recalls Ken:

In June I was walking on the 16th Street Mall and was nearly hit by a young woman zooming along on one of these at top speed. Missed me by about two feet. I was pissed.

Suggests Ben:

Ban scooters! Save Tom’s Ugly-Ass Diner! Go home, Denverites, your priorities are backasswards.

Concludes Michael:

Don't make me have to move six of these things AGAIN when they block my neighbor and his wheelchair...That shit will go right in dumpster.

“It would increase public safety on the sidewalks, particularly for people with disabilities, older people and children," Piep van Heuven, policy director at Bicycle Colorado, said at the committee hearing.

Scooter riders would be banned from sidewalks, except in locations where a sidewalk allows for bike use (though riders would be able to start their rides and disembark along sidewalks). Scooters are currently banned from the 16th Street Mall but allowed on bike lanes and roads where the speed limit is below 30 miles per hour. If neither of those two pathways is available, riders are allowed to operate scooters on sidewalks at a speed of 6 mph or less.

There may be a bit of learning curve for scooter riders if these proposed regulations come to fruition. Over the past year, Public Works staked out four locations across Denver and observed 1,560 scooter riders. The consensus? Riders have a strong affinity for sidewalks. For streets with a bike lane, 52 percent of riders stayed in the lane, while 44 percent rode on the sidewalk. For streets without bike lanes, 82 percent of riders stayed on the sidewalk, while 18 percent rode on the street.

What do you think about scooters? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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