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San Antonio City Council considers final approval for scooter rules today

October 11, 2018

The San Antonio City Council will consider giving final approval today to a new ordinance that would regulate the growing number of motorized scooters zipping along downtown sidewalks and city streets.

Council members gave initial approval to the set of regulations last month. If the rules are approved, a six-month pilot program will be implemented. Next spring, city staff will report findings from the pilot program and recommend any necessary changes.

Three companies — Bird, Lime and Blue Duck — now offer scooters for rent. The battery-powered vehicles, which look like narrow skateboards with handlebars, are operated via smartphone apps. Because they are dockless, they can be left anywhere and are often seen on sidewalks and parking lots across the downtown area. There are more than 2,000 of them.

At the council’s meeting in September when the ordinance received first approval, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Councilman Rey Saldaña, chairman of the council’s transportation committee, said there’s a need to strike the right balance between having rules strong enough to ensure safety and accountability and not being so restrictive that new technology is scared off.

If approved, the new rules would prohibit anyone younger than 16 from riding on the scooters and would require that scooters always yield to pedestrians. Sidewalks won’t be off limits, but bike lanes should be used when present. Scooters couldn’t be used in areas where the speed limit is more than 35 mph. And scooter drives could face fines for reckless driving, riding while intoxicated and moving infractions.

The proposed ordinance also would require the companies to pay a $500 vendor application fee, plus $10 per vehicle.

Josh Baugh is a staff writer in the San Antonio and Bexar County area. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | jbaugh@express-news.net | Twitter: @jbaugh

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