Temporary Ban On ‘Dockless’ Scooters, Bikes On Agenda

This Thursday the Lexington Planning Commission will hold a public hearing about temporarily banning electric scooters and skateboards from the city.

“I think I need to make one distinction,” Planning Director Arne Glaesar said at the Lexington City Council meeting on Oct. 17 when the topic first came up. “It’s not if you want to get an electric scooter and go scoot around, this is dealing with the companies that come in and drop hundreds of scooters off in the community.”

Council member David Sigler wanted to confirm that, hypothetically, with the ban in place, Council member Chuck Smith could still go out and buy an electric scooter and ride it around town if he wanted to. Glaesar said that he could.

This temporary ban is about warding off companies who rent “dockless” bikes and scooters, bikes and scooters that can be found and ditched anywhere in a community; they don’t have a permanent home.

“The issue that a lot of people have found is not just the way they’re being ridden, but also, and primarily, where they’re being parked,” Glaesar said. “They are left all over the place.”

In addition to that, drivers often say that the scooters are a nuisance, and that riders take extra license on roadways, going the wrong way on one-way streets, and running through red lights.

It was Council member Straughan that originally brought the idea of banning electric scooters to Council. She learned that, in order to regulate the scooters, some ordinance requiring licensing needed to be in place by the end of the calendar year.

Glaesar said that Lexington’s size, small sidewalks and lack of opportunity to ride on the road make it a less than ideal place for electric scooters.

“There’s some liability issues with the conditions of our road,” Straughan added. “We’re not done with our paving yet, and we don’t have bike lanes, and we probably don’t want them on our sidewalks I would imagine.”

Both Straughan and Sigler were in favor of making the ban temporary, in case Council wanted to revisit the situation later.

“I do see some benefits to it but not right now’s not a good time I don’t think,” Straughan said.

“I would support a temporary ban at this time,” Council member Smith said. “One thing that comes to light is — I like W&L’s blue bike program but when I see those bikes laying around every where I think that is a good barometer on how electric scooters would be treated in this town.”

Council directed staff to write an ordinance temporarily banning dockless scooters.

“I would say — feel free to come back and advise us on how you see best,” Mayor Frank Friedman said. “It’s a little over 10 p.m. and we’ve been talking fowl most of the evening, so.”

This was the same meeting that Council voted to allow backyard chickens in Lexington, and it was a long one.

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