New Denver law lets e-scooters go everywhere bikes go

The ordinance also removes restrictions on certain roads, bans scooting on the freeway and outlaws skitchin’.

A Lime scooter parked in a parking spot, Aug. 6, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A Lime scooter parked in a parking spot, Aug. 6, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photos

UPDATE: The Denver City Council unanimously passed the law Aug. 26, meaning electric scooters are now allowed on any city streets that allow bicycles, no matter the speed limit or whether a bicycle lane is present.

Denver Public Works hopes to refine the role of scooters on city streets by aligning them with bicycles.

The tweak to an existing law will, among other things, legalize storing scooters alongside curbs unofficially reserved for parked cars.

Locals can already park bikes on unmetered blocks as if it were a car but it’s uncommon without a bike corral (a cluster of on-street bike racks) to secure them with. However, scooter-share and bike-share vehicles lock without racks.

Like bikes, scooters will be allowed on sidewalks with a max speed limit of 6 mph, but only when riders are within a block of their destination or origin.

Scooters are popular in Denver, with nearly 6,000 trips taken per day, according to DPW. Blocking sidewalks is a common complaint. There’s no telling if people will store the machines curbside instead of impeding the sidewalk, but the proposed ordinance clearly allows it.

Aside from clarifying parking rules, the ordinance generally aligns the rights of scooter riders with those of bicyclists and e-bicyclists, meaning they are allowed on all the same roads. The law bans electric scooters on highways, because apparently that had to be spelled out.

Finally, no skitchin’! Skitchin’ is when you hold on to other moving vehicles. It is also a beloved Sega Genesis game.

The streets department presented the proposed changes to the Denver City Council’s transportation committee Tuesday. The full city council will vote at its legislative meeting Monday.

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