Regulating electric scooters


From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

As electric bikes and scooters become more common in Providence and other cities, municipal officials should follow what’s happening in San Francisco, where the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency has designated two scooter companies – Skip and Scoot -- to start a pilot regulated scooter system in the very hilly and congested city.

One big issue: Keeping parked scooters off sidewalks by trying to ensure that they’re attached to existing bike-locking gear. People get cranky when they see abandoned electric scooters and bikes just lying around, sometimes blocking sidewalks and even streets. Cities and personal-transportation companies such as Skip and Scoot need hot lines that people can call to report abandoned bikes and scooters.

Other questions for cities and states: What should be the extent of dedicated personal-vehicle- lane networks? Who should regulate these vehicles? The state or communities? Should helmets be mandatory?

The arrival of these small electric vehicles is good news for cities seeking to limit car congestion and the pollution that cars cause. But much needs to be done to systemize their use to maximize their efficiency and safety.

To read more about what they’re doing in San Francisco, please hit this link.