(TNS) — Cleveland’s trial run with electric scooters is only about two and a half months old, but the rentable two-wheelers are likely here to stay, city Planning Director Freddy Collier says.
And as scooters become more popular, as expected, Clevelanders will come to view them as a viable mode of transportation, comparable to buses and bicycles, Collier told cleveland.com this week.
“People are really starting to accept them as a legitimate form of transportation,” Collier said. “It’s something that we’re going to have to take into account. … We have to ready ourselves for what that reality is.”
The electric-power scooters -- and electric-assisted bicycles – began appearing at the end of August under a pilot program in the downtown, Ohio City, Tremont and University Circle.
As of Tuesday, they had been used for about 160,000 rides and have been spotted in areas outside of the initial target areas.
Usage data from the scooter companies shows that they’re being used for more than just entertainment, too, Collier said. He cites his own example of using one to travel from City Hall to meetings in the downtown.
One rider, Collier said, has used a scooter to commute daily to and from East 93 Street in southeast Cleveland to downtown.
There still are some wrinkles to work out.
The city’s regulations require that riders use the streets, not sidewalks, in business districts such as downtown, but scooter users often have been seen on downtown’s sidewalks.
Collier said he has seen officers talking to riders and suspects they may be getting warnings about the rules of the road, and the sidewalk.
Cleveland.com did not get a response when it asked how many tickets the police department had written for scooter infractions.
The city has sought to reinforce that message through the vendors, which can communicate directly with scooter users via their cellphone apps, said Calley Mersmann, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.
The scooter companies, Bird, Lime, Spin, Veoride and Wheels, were given permits to operate for a six-month pilot program. After that, they will have to seek a new permit.
Bird was the first to arrive at the end of August. Lime and Spin followed shortly thereafter. Veoride and Wheels began operation more recently.
Bird is the only company in the group with permission to lease electric-assisted bicycles. All have scooters in the target areas.
The city and the scooter companies regularly communicate, discussing how the regulations might need tweaking as Cleveland gains more experience with scooters, Mersmann said.
Vendors, for example, have suggested that the 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. hours of operation might be adjusted to allow for later daylight hours.
And as winter weather sets in, vendors might seek to reduce the number of vehicles – 100 minimum -- they are required to have on the streets.
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