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The City Journals

E-scooters come to Midvale with conditions

Jun 02, 2021 09:32AM ● By Erin Dixon

E-scooters like these will soon appear on Midvale streets. (Wikimedia commons)

By Erin Dixon | [email protected]

While their debut in Salt Lake City two years ago was rocky, other cities have learned from the mistakes. Electric scooters, or e-scooters, are now popping up in many cities.  

There is now room in Midvale City code for any scooter business to apply for a license, but with conditions. 

“Lights on them, forward and backward, reflectivity and bell or horn,” said Nate Rockwood, Midvale Community development director. 

The e-scooters will only be rideable in Midvale. However, Sandy has a similar ordinance. If the same company is licensed in both cities, potentially a rider could go between the two. If a rider passes over the city border, the e-scooter will slowly stop and power down.  

Each scooter company will have a downloadable app where you can pay to ride the scooter. 

“Every single scooter has to be equipped with GPS so they can locate them,” Rockwood said. 

E-scooters are meant to be used in bike lanes on roads with speed limits 35 mph or lower, and yield to pedestrians and bikes. 

As with cars, “Riders have to be 16 years or older,” Rockwood said. “[Riders] can’t use cell phones while riding. They have to be able to operate the vehicle with both hands. Can’t be used on private property or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” 

Councilmember Bryant Brown expressed concern about the increased work required by the Unified Police Department (UPD).

“We’re always sensitive to the UPD budget,” Brown said. “And just today alone we’ve added enforcement on multiple items. We shouldn’t be surprised if it gets more expensive for us because we’re asking them to do more.”

“There is definitely a possibility of increased workload regarding enforcement,” UPD Midvale Chief Randy Thomas said. 

“I don’t anticipate enforcement specifically for those using the scooters but rather the potential nuisance some may feel they cause,” he said. “My bigger concern is the safety of those using the scooters. Much like motorcycles, pedestrians and bicyclists, there will surely be injuries.”

Comments from the Midvale Residents Facebook page were mostly positive. 

“They were awesome when I lived downtown,” resident Amy Savage said. “I’d use them for fun or a short jaunt.”

“As long as there's a clear contract for who is responsible to collect them from the random places they're abandoned, it's fine,” Kaylee Blair said. 

“They are fun for touristy places,” Lorene Butler said. “Scary for pedestrians and vehicles.”