EDMOND, Okla. — A green light for Lime to provide 150 electric scooters within the city was approved 5-0 by the Edmond City Council Monday. The approval allows the city to enter a one-year contract with Lime based on a memorandum of understanding.
The City of Edmond has no specific ordinance related to scooters, said Steve Murdock, city attorney. City officials have been discussing Lime scooters as an additional mode of transportation in Edmond.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) does not identify specific boundaries for scooter mobility during the one-year review and study process by the city, Murdock said. But safety issues including suitable parking areas for the scooters weighed heavily in discussions as leaders envision an ordinance.
Driving a scooter is not allowed on sidewalks or bike trails, according to Lime’s rules. Parking is allowed on public rights-of way in locations that would not cause problems with the Americans for Disability Act, Murdock said. Businesses must approve whether scooters may be parked on premises, Murdock added.
“We want to make sure the locations they mentioned are not going to clutter-up Broadway. They’re not going to be a safety hazard,” Murdock said.
Scooters would not be allowed within the confines of Heard on Hurd or other downtown events blocking off traffic. The city plans to adopt restrictions for areas of travel.
Evoke owner Jason Duncan welcomed Lime business downtown. He suggested that the city slow traffic downtown. The scooters would allow more UCO students to experience downtown Edmond entertainment, he said.
“I’m not against the scooters. I think it’s definitely something of the future and it’s coming,” said Bryanne Wallace, downtown business owner. “But I would like to encourage you not to put so many on Broadway — possibly on the side streets — Festival Market Place and strategic places like around the post office or Patriarch, somewhere over at The Railyard, some places where there will be big entertainment but maybe not right on Broadway.
“I think Broadway is dangerous. People fly down Broadway. I don’t know how much you know about scooters, but I’ve been there 22 years and I watch people fly down Broadway every day.”
Mayor Dan O’Neil cautioned against permitting scooters in downtown traffic, but to make the University of Central Oklahoma the primary focus with limited access to downtown.
“I like the idea of using side roads,” O’Neil said. “We don’t allow skateboards downtown.”
Councilman David Chapman said he is confident in the public’s ability to adapt and educate themselves on safe scooter mobility downtown.
“Even though it’s a one-year agreement, if we hit the six-month mark and for whatever reason there is a disaster we have the ability to just cancel it,” said Nick Massey, city councilman.
Riding a scooter is similar to riding a bike, said Darrell Davis, city councilman. He wants the city to raise awareness that there is more on the road than a car or a truck.
“You can have a bicycle. You can have a scooter,” Davis said.
EDUCATION A RIDING FACTOR
Lime promotes rider safety education, teaching them city rules, said Lime General Manager Robert Greenleaf. He has spoken to UCO executives about placing a page on the university website addressing rules and conduct.
He was involved in launching Lime scooter use in Oklahoma City, Stillwater, Norman, Tulsa and Jenks. Oklahoma City went live last summer.
Similar to bicycles the scooters are not to be driven on sidewalks, but could be permitted on side paths. Lime provides app messaging that triggers when scooter drivers enter an unserviced area of town, Greenleaf said. Scooters travel a maximum of 15 mph and begin to slow down significantly when crossing into a forbidden area or undesignated parking zone, he added. A text message will state not to proceed in the area — turn around, Greenleaf explained.
PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT
City Councilman Josh Moore said the one-year review will help identify if boundaries are needed. Emergency situations could prompt a quicker response in identifying boundaries, Moore said.
Moore suggested that the city’s Edmond Public Transportation Committee recommend timely changes to the MOU for the council to consider before the contract expires.
“They have monthly meetings,” Moore said of the transportation committee.
Chapman said the committee’s input would help address concerns of citizens and downtown shop owners.
The issue of scooters locating in Edmond has been discussed with the Bicycle Committee, and the Central Edmond Urban Development Board. The Public Transportation Committee scheduled a special meeting for July 18 to discuss this issue.
The committees that have reviewed the issue are generally in favor of allowing scooters, according to the Planning Department.