Scooters allowed to roll on BG streets

Bowling Green Council on Monday passed legislation regulating electric scooters and other “micromobility devices” in Bowling Green

Council voted unanimously to approve the legislation. The ordinance had been tabled since July so that the community improvement committee could further discuss recommended amendments. They met twice last month on the matter.

The legislation defines a shared micromobility device as bicycles, electric bicycles, scooters and electric scooters distributed by persons or companies throughout the city that are rented per trip.

Under the ordinance, the scooters are able to operate similarly to a bicycle on shared bicycle and pedestrian ways, streets, bike lanes and bike paths, but not on sidewalks except where permitted by Bowling Green State University.

Their maximum speed is 20 miles per hour, and they cannot be operated on streets with a speed limit above 35 miles an hour. Riders must be at least 18 years old, and there can be no more than one rider per scooter.

Council introduced the legislation in June to create Chapter 123 of the city’s codified ordinances.

According to the legislative package document prepared for council, the path and background for this legislation is similar to quadricycle legislation, which was passed earlier this year.

In this case, the State of Ohio passed legislation allowing for the use of electric scooters and authorizing local jurisdictions to pass additional regulations as they see fit – otherwise the state law governs.

The document stated that city staff looked at BGSU policies and laws on the books in other cities in the state about the vehicles.

The document states that the regulations in the new chapter require providers to enter into a use agreement and to display easily visible contact information on each vehicle.

They must also take reasonable steps to ensure that riders understand Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and to provide indemnification and insurance requirements. The legislation describes the equipment that must be provided, including a forward-pointed lamp and a back reflector, and also lists operating parameters.

The community improvement committee made one significant amendment to the original legislation, which was the insertion of a new Section 123.08, governing fleet size requirements for micromobility providers.

Under this provision, shared bicycle and electric bicycle operations are restricted to a fleet size of no more than 100 bicycles.

Operations with a combination of regular and electric bicycles and shared e-scooters may have a maximum fleet size of 150 shared micro-mobility devices, provided that there is a minimum of 20 of each type of such vehicles. E-scooter operations are restricted to a fleet size of 100.

Also the total number of shared micromobility devices permitted under this program shall be limited to a cumulative total of 500 between all permittees.

The legislation passed 7-0 and without substantive comment. The only discussion among council centered on the proper parliamentary procedure to amend the legislation by substitution, allowing them to pass it with the amendments from the community improvement committee.