TULSA, OK (KJRH) — The debate over whether the rules surrounding electric scooters in Tulsa should change could soon end in "yes". Tulsa city officials have seen the issues many have brought up about the scooters, and are looking to take several new steps.
First, officials are considering adding a minimum age for riding an electric scooter in Tulsa to 16 or 18 years old. Also, city officials want to clear up in which areas riders can travel on sidewalks and where they must use the street.
The city would also clear up language in different city ordinances, allowing police to increase the enforcement of the rules. Right now, the rules for electric scooters is mostly bunched together with rules for cyclists, so the city wants to take a step forward by making stricter, more exclusive rules for scooters.
These are all ideas brought to the city council by Chief of Community Development and Policy Nick Doctor. Doctor says since electric scooters hit Tulsa roads, they've been used more than 250,000 times by more than 70,000 riders.
Councilors like Kara Joy McKee (District Four) brought up pre-existing concerns, and after the tragic scooter accident that killed five-year-old Caiden Ortiz, officials say it's now time to create and enforce rules they've been talking about putting in place.
"I think there's a learning curve to it," Lauryn Ratcliff said, "you cant just hop in a car and just drive, same with an electric scooter."
City officials also want to create guidelines of where to park scooters when riders are done with them.
"You'll see scooters sometimes park on the sidewalks, it might be in the middle of the road, like this is a trip hazard waiting to happen," Angie Hawkins said. "I definitely would recommend some guidelines, because you'll see kids who are having a lot of fun going down the street, but they may be in the middle of the street with a car behind them."
City officials want the rules to be clear and obvious to riders, so they're working with app developers to make riders read and agree to the laws before taking a spin.
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