Electric scooters could not be operated by anyone under the age of 15, hitched to the back of a moving vehicle, or left in the middle of a sidewalk under the terms of a bill making its way through the Legislature.
While those restrictions may sound like common sense, cities with electric scooters have experienced numerous problems with the trendy devices—particularly when scooter companies move into a market before state and local regulations are in place, as has been the case in Lafayette.
A bill (HB 534) by state Rep. Rogers Pope, R-Livingston, seeks to get ahead of the curve by laying out specifically what scooter companies and scooter users can and cannot do. Among the scooter provisions in the bill:
- A set 15 mile per hour speed limit on the street.
- Operators could not ride more than two abreast on the street
- Users under the age of 18 would be required to wear a helmet.
The bill also outlines how other motorists would be required to interact with scooters, requiring that they maintain at least three feet between their vehicle and a scooter, and allowing them to pass a scooter only when it is safe to do so.
While the bill, if enacted, would go a long way toward addressing some of the issues that have plagued other cities, it may not be necessary for Baton Rouge. Though Bird Scooters has indicated an interest in expanding here from Lafayette, where it began operating last fall, the company hasn’t taken any steps in recent months to set up shop.
Director of Development Fred Raiford says he has met and spoken with representatives from the company but nothing definite has been established yet. He also says the city is working on its own regulations that would complement state legislation. As for the bill itself, he hasn’t had a chance to review it.
A local contact for Bird Scooters says she is no longer employed at the company and her successor did not return a call seeking comment in time for this morning’s publication.
Pope’s bill has been introduced in the House Committee on Transportation and Public Works. A hearing date has not been set.