Tulsa considers age requirement for electric scooters
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Tulsa might introduce a minimum age requirement for electric scooters following the death last month of a 5-year-old scooter passenger.
Nick Doctor, the city’s chief of community development and policy, presented a proposal from the mayor’s office on Wednesday to city councilors that would require the minimum age of scooter users to be either 16 or 18, the Tulsa World reported.
Doctor noted the proposal is one of several that aim to increase electric scooter awareness and ensure they’re being safely used ahead of the summer, when ridership is expected to jump substantially.
“I think the tragedy last week really just punctuated the need for that,” he said.
Caiden Reyes-Luevano was fatally struck by a car on April 23 after falling off a Lime rental scooter operated by his mother, Evelyn Ortiz-Luevano.
Ortiz-Luevano was charged with child neglect and negligent homicide. She has since fled to Mexico, according to police.
More than 70,000 people have used an electric scooter since they came to Tulsa last fall, with passengers taking over 250,000 rides, Doctor said.
He added that Tulsa’s plan for promoting safer scooter use will include three components — ordinance changes, such as the minimum age requirement; a public safety and information campaign; and improved enforcement of scooter regulations.
District 4 City Councilor Kara Joy McKee said that she planned Doctor’s meeting with the council before last month’s accident. McKee informed her fellow councilors that residents have been expressing concerns about how electric scooters were impacting pedestrian traffic on sidewalks.
“My main goal is to make sure councilors and Tulsans are aware that the scooter conversations are ongoing and that we have some good policy changes and educational programs in the works,” she said. “Bringing in a new mode of transportation comes with challenges, and I will continue working with my colleagues and constituents to get this right.”
The mayor’s office is expected to bring its recommended ordinance modifications to the City Council within the next month.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com