Electric scooters, the popular but controversial transportation that has become ubiquitous in Denver and other major US cities, could be coming to Golden — at least on a trial basis. Golden Long …
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Electric scooters, the popular but controversial transportation that has become ubiquitous in Denver and other major US cities, could be coming to Golden — at least on a trial basis.
Golden Long Range Planner Cory Miller told the Golden Planning Commission the city has been approached by Lime, which runs electric scooter systems nationwide, about operating a pilot program in the city that would bring 50 of its electric scooters available for rental in the city.
Lime’s scooters are available for rental via an app, which allows them to be picked up or dropped off anywhere in the city.
“I can understand how that would be a hard sell for the city of Golden, especially when you hear more about Lime pulling out of small markets focusing on bigger markets,” Miller said.
But while Miller expressed hesitation, the Planning Commission expressed a general openness to the idea, ultimately instructing Miller to invite a representative from Lime to attend a meeting of Golden’s Mobility and Transportation Advisory Board to provide more information and answer questions about a potential pilot program.
For several members of the Planning Commission, part of the appeal of the pilot is that Lime would provide the city with free data related to how and where the scooters are used during the pilot. Such data would be useful to the city as it works to learn more about traffic patterns on its streets, particular for modes of transportation other than cars.
“I really don’t want to see these things in Golden permanently but if we can have them in for a season and get data from them I think it would be worth it just for that,” said Planning Commission member Blake Mayberry.
Beyond the possibility for data collection, the Planning Commission said the scooters could also be beneficial for the city because they would provide a new mobility option that is popular among young people, including options for getting from parking spots to downtown destinations.
“You’d see a lot of people taking them home at night if they are downtown,” said Erik Mayberry, a member of the Golden Mobility and Transportation Committee. “They could walk downtown and then ride home and leave it in their yard.”
But while the commission expressed support for exploring the pilot further, members also expressed that the idea of bringing the scooters to Golden could come with problems ranging from scooters being left all over the city to potential safety issues.
Miller explained that most cities now legally treat the electric scooters, which mean they can be legally ridden the same places as bikes. The scooters typically travel at about 15 mph, Miller said.
A memo about a potential pilot written by explained that Lime claims the program employs several methods for ensuring the safety of riders. Miller told the commission that those methods including requiring those who rent a scooter to watch a safety video before they can do so. However, a persistent criticism of companies like Lime has been that they do not provide helmets with their scooters.
It would ultimately be up to the city council to approve any pilot program, which Lime says would be operated at no cost to the city.
The commission also recommended that the city should also work with School of Mines on making a decision about any potential pilot program, given the likely popularity of the scooters as a transportation option for Mines students around the Mines campus. However, scooters are typically banned on college campuses and Lime employs technology that can prevent them being operational in certain geographic locations.
Miller said Lime would likely require that any pilot program last about a year.
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