Citing safety worries, Kettering suspends shared bikes, scooter use

Kettering city officials have approved a one-year moratorium on the use of electric scooters and other shared-mobility vehicles, such as bicycles, based on safety concerns.

MORE: Oakwood puts moratorium on shared electronic bikes, scooters

There are no comprehensive statistics available, but a rough count of media reports on the vehicles by the Associated Press turned up at least 11 electric scooter rider deaths in the United States since the beginning of 2018. Nine were on rented scooters and two on ones the victims owned.

Law Director Ted Hamer told council the vehicles have disrupted pedestrians and business owners in other cities.

“Shared-mobility devices are frequently abandoned by users on streets, sidewalks and other public places,” Hamer said. “It’s creating serious clutter and safety concerns.” He said the devices are frequently operated on sidewalks, creating conflict with pedestrians, and are nearly always operated by users who are not wearing safety helmets.

“While the moratorium is in effect, city staff will have an opportunity to study the issues and recommend regulations that address the public safety and aesthetic issues for city council to consider,” Hamer said.

MORE: Thousands ride Dayton’s electric scooters in first weeks

While tackling the issue of shared mobility devices, Kettering is also considering how to enforce laws involving autonomous operated vehicles.

Council passed legislation adjusting the city’s traffic code to allow law enforcement the latitude to address accidents and other related traffic issues when the vehicle in question is in a “self-driving mode.”

Hamer said the legislation adds new definitions to laws that will “assign responsibilities for the operations of those autonomous vehicles.”

Oakwood has joined Kettering in banning the scooter and other shared-mobility devices. In July 2019, Oakwood city officials voted unanimously to enact a one-year moratorium on the devices.

“Dockless electric scooters and bicycles, which are available to be rented on demand from unstaffed locations, have arrived in many cities suddenly and unexpectedly and have proliferated rapidly,” Councilman Rob Stephens said.

In late August 2019, San Francisco-based Spin put about 100 to 120 e-scooters in downtown Dayton. The scooters were an instant success, and the company decided to roughly double its local fleet. Scooters often are used to shorten trips around the center city.

MORE: Downtown Dayton welcomes Spin electric scooters

Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said scooters offered a unique way to explore the city.

“Giving people the opportunity to explore downtown in different ways is important, and the scooters are a complement to other mobility options, such as the Link bike-share program and the RTA’s free Flyer bus, that give people the choice of different ways to travel in downtown,” Gudorf said when the scooters were launched last year.

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