Highland Village city leaders have formed a committee to examine the use of scooters around town, and a report will come to the City Council later in July, City Manager Paul Stevens said.

The council likely will not be ready to adopt anything at that point, though, because of the information just being provided and some consensus being needed to move forward, he said.

How we got here

In a newsletter from last week, city officials said they are “seeing more and more scooters, electric bikes, and other electric mobility devices around the city; unfortunately, there have been several scooter-related incidents in the last month.”

Because of this situation, the city has developed a staff and City Council working group to update the “Scooter Ordinance” that was established in 1999 and last updated in 2012. Officials want to have an ordinance and safety guidelines and recommendations in place before the 2023-24 school year starts. The committee consists of members of the police department, the fire department, public works and the parks department as well as Council Member Jon Kixmiller and Laurie Mullens, the city’s director of marketing and communications. The committee began meeting June 23.

Other cities have taken up the issue as Dallas recently relaunched its scooter program.

The approach

Residents’ feedback is requested about how the ordinance should address the use of safety equipment with residents being asked in a survey about helmets for scooters. That survey can be found here.

Diving in deeper

Stevens said scooters are allowed on any roadway with a speed limit of 30 miles per hour and under.

“They are also allowed on sidewalks,” he said. “They are not allowed on the trails, although we know kids are riding on them now, and that’s really part of the conversation—do we prefer to have them on the trails as opposed to streets or what? So the committee is kind of working through that right now.”

Scooter users must be age 12 or older, Stevens said, and helmets are required unless one is age 18 or older. Licenses are not required, he said.

“And that is something as well that we’re looking at as far as the helmet requirement, [whether] that’s something we will enforce or leave it up to the parents,” he said.

He said most electric scooters travel just under 25 mph. Riders are not allowed to have passengers—which has been witnessed around town, Stevens said—and scooters are not allowed to be used at night or in inclement weather.

“One thing that we want to certainly get across is that if you’re riding a scooter, you need to treat them as though you’re on a bicycle and follow those same standard bicycle safety rules,” he said, noting those rules include going with the flow of traffic and stopping at stop signs.

He said the city did have a rash of crashes for a while, but those incidents have “definitely slowed down” and, young riders are learning more about the vehicles and are not being quite as dangerous. He said the wrecks the city did have were not bad and only caused some issues and minor injuries.

“Just with the growing number of scooters in the town, we thought it was certainly a good time for us to take a look at our ordinance,” he said.