Chandler officials seek public input on electric scooters

A fleet of Lime scooters line an Austin sidewalk.

A fleet of Lime scooters line an Austin sidewalk.

Electric scooters and bikes could soon be filling the streets and sidewalks of Chandler. The city is conducting two surveys, one directed at the general public and the other at the business community, to gauge interest for these ride-sharing services.

City officials are planning to use the responses to inform policy discussions with the mayor and City Council, as electric scooter and bike services are currently not allowed to operate in Chandler.

The use of these services have been popularized around the country recently. The Chandler surveys come at a time when the trend of electric bikes and scooters is taking hold in other Phoenix-area cities.

In January, Uber deployed 1,000 of its Jump scooters and bikes in Scottsdale and Mesa. Lyft also added 400 scooters to the two cities earlier this year. Electric scooter company Lime also operates in cities around Phoenix.

As popularity for these services grow, so do criticisms. Electric scooter and bike companies have been under scrutiny recently due to rising safety concerns.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission's National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, head injuries from riding electric scooters without a helmet have nearly tripled from 2008-17. Additionally, almost half of the injuries related to electric scooters have resulted in head wounds, a study from the CDC shows.

To ensure community safety, Tempe unanimously approved licensing and staging fees that led to Lime removing all its scooters from the city in February.

Tempe’s licensing provision includes a statement stating that riding scooters is “inherently hazardous.” Electric scooter and bike companies must admit that their scooters are dangerous and take full liability for any injuries occurring while patrons ride them in order to operate in the city.

Scottsdale does not require companies to pay additional licensing fees to operate their electric scooters in the city but did pass a city ordinance in November limiting where the scooters could be parked and staged. Mesa is currently discussing similar regulations.

The Chandler surveys are expected to be available on the city's website through mid-July.
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