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Leaders Consider Changing E-Scooter Law, Bike Community Wants Expanded Lanes

DENVER (CBS4) - Following a year-long e-scooter pilot program, Denver Public Works is moving forward with a few changes it hopes will make things safer and more efficient for everyone. In a public meeting Tuesday, it presented ordinance changes to Denver City Council's Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, prohibiting electric scooters on sidewalks.

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If the change is approved, people on scooters would follow the same rules as people on bikes and electric bikes and ride in the street and in bike lanes.

Denver has seen a number of serious injuries involving e-scooters, one as recent as Sunday. Some of the amendments presented were to prevent incidents the city never saw coming.

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"You cannot cling to a motor vehicle. Unfortunately we have to put that in there. Another one, you can't ride them on the freeways. We had an incident last week," said Nick Williams, Director of Denver Public Works.

Williams was referring to two juveniles, captured on cell phone, riding e-scooters down U.S. 6 last Friday.

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Rules and regulations for e-scooters companies will also be part of the changes. Currently, Lyft and Spin are two companies that have been disabling scooters in areas the city considers "safe zones." Those include the 16th Street Mall, Union Station and Coors Field (during games).

Byrd has been limiting speeds. Denver Public Works says it's considering making it a requirement for all companies permitted to operate in the city.

During Tuesday's committee meeting, Bicycle Colorado asked that the city consider immediate expansion of the bike lanes. Piep van Heuven, the organization's director, noted that the city's bike lane network is only 1/3 complete and banning scooters on sidewalks would add stress to the underdeveloped system.

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The city says the proposed change more closely aligns with state law signed in May and provides more consistency in enforcement. Following the launch of the ongoing permit program for commercial scooter operators, Denver Police may issue citations to any user riding in violation of the new law.

The committee referred the ordinance change recommendation to the full council for consideration later this month.

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