Lincoln residents weigh in on electric scooters in the city

The Lincoln City Council made another step forward toward electric scooters in the city. Some Lincoln residents took part in the public hearing on Monday.

The proposed ordinance would establish a pilot program on rentals of battery–powered scooters. It would require them not to be driven on sidewalks or multi–use trails.

“As high interest in making sure that this program is safe as possible, part of that is trying to keep them off of the sidewalks because that interaction with a higher speed vehicle with pedestrians is not what we want,” Planning Director, David Cary said.

You would have to be at least 16 years old to operate the scooters. Some Lincoln residents had safety concerns such as whether or not people operating the scooters should have to wear helmets.

“As far as I know, we really don’t have a helmet law in Lincoln so why you would all of a sudden pick on this one motorized vehicle to have to wear a helmet you know, is unfair,” Richard Draper said.

Electric scooters recently made their way to Omaha in May. The mayor is allowing them as part of a six month trial.

One individual spoke about his experience seeing them in Omaha during the College World Series.

“There were bikes dumped everywhere, charged and uncharged, but literally got where they were going and left, almost piles of bikes.”

A Lincoln woman has been working on O street for 31 years and says the city just needs to keep safety a top priority.

“I think we need to really look at some of those high traffic intersections downtown and try to figure out not just how to address the scooter issue but to make all the pedestrian traffic as safe as we can,” Vice President, Communications & Corporate Records at Lincoln Electric Systems, Shelley-Sahling-Zart said.

Cary says the pilot program would give the city the ability to control the use of these scooters, prevent bad operators from setting up shop and any other problems that may come up.

“I think this provides us some flexibility, as that pilot program is happening to learn, to adjust and make sure that we are doing this the best way possible,” Cary said.

The final vote on the scooters will be during next Monday’s meeting. The pilot program would allow the city to try out the scooters.

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