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New rules proposed for electric scooters in Tulsa

Posted at 9:15 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 23:28:10-04

TULSA, OK (KJRH) — New ordinances could be coming to Tulsa roads, setting enforceable rules for electric scooters. The City Council expects to vote on four ordinances on August 21, setting a minimum age for users, and affecting how many people can ride on scooters, where they can be parked, and where they can be ridden on sidewalks.

Since the end of October when electric scooters hit Tulsa streets, riders have taken 423,000 rides throughout the city. In all, riders have traveled nearly 484,000 miles - more than the distance from the Earth to the moon and back.

District Four City Councilor Kara Joy McKee says she has heard complaints and questions from people in her district concerning electric scooters, and agrees now is the time to get hard rules on the books.

"One of the problems we’ve seen is people think the scooters are kids toys, which they’re not,” Councilor McKee said. “In the state of Oklahoma, you have to be 16 to get a driver’s license, and so we figure 16 is when we can reasonably expect the majority of people will know the traffic laws.”

That's the first of the ordinances the council is proposing - setting the minimum age of riders at 16.

When they’re on the road, riders need to stay as close to the right as possible, but the council is also defining "business districts" where riding is not allowed. That would be in the IDL, Cherry Street, and Brookside.

The council is also working on areas where scooters can't be parked, like on ramps that could block people from getting by.

"Hopefully as more people are using them they’re realizing there’s a responsibility that comes with using them, they’ll also take those precautions to protect themselves,” said District Seven Councilor Lori Decter Wright. "We’re just kind of circling back and saying, 'okay, here’s the things that still aren’t working.'”

The council is also considering an ordinance that would ban two riders being on a scooter at once. The ordinance is being proposed for safety precautions, keeping in mind an accident that killed a five-year-old riding with his mother.

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