Scootsdale: city outlines rules, regulations for motorized scooters

Scooters have made a comeback on local streets and sidewalks, as the motorized stand-up transportation option is the newest ride-share choice in Scottsdale.

Across the Valley, residents are using stand-up electric scooters to get them from point A to point B.

A company by the name of Bird is the only one operating its scooters within Scottsdale.

In Old Town Scottsdale, Bird scooters are a new transportation option. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

The city of Scottsdale Transportation Commission has been working on its draft vehicle ordinance, which includes electric bikes and stand-up electric mini-scooters.

In June 2018, the Scottsdale Transportation Department began soliciting resident input on proposed changes to its bicycle ordinance. A draft ordinance outlines changes to include bicycle parking, operating guidelines and acknowledging emerging other vehicle-share technology.

Following an August Scottsdale Transportation Commission meeting, the group postponed its recommendation until Thursday, Oct. 18, where the commission voted 7-0 to both:

  • Include sidewalks and clarify language in the ordinance; and
  • Recommend the ordinance as amended.

While much of the focus of the vehicle ordinance has been anchored by the ride-share bicycles that descended upon Scottsdale, the newest scooter technology is also included.

The ordinance gives framework to ride-share options by outlining allowed parking, street and road regulations and penalties for not following the city’s rules. Transportation Director Paul Basha says the draft revised ordinance is to be presented to Scottsdale City Council Tuesday, Nov. 13.

Within the document, the city’s definitions include: “Stand-up electric mini-scooter means a self-propelled device which has an electric motor, a deck on which a person may ride, at least two tandem wheels in contact with the ground, handle bars, brakes and does not exceed 20 MPH and which is not otherwise defined in Arizona Revised Statutes Titlee 28, as amended, as a ‘motor vehicle,’ ‘motorcycle,’ or ‘motor-driven cycle.’”

Mr. Basha says the city defined the term “stand-up electric mini-scooters” as referring to the Bird and other similar devices.

“In our opinion, our current ordinance applies to the Bird devices as they are ‘motorized play vehicles,’” Mr. Basha said of the scooters.

“Bird believes their device is a transportation vehicle, not a play vehicle. So they believe the current ordinance does not apply to them. This difference of opinion is one of the reasons the revised ordinance is appropriate.”

Mr. Basha says it’s important to follow the rules when operating a scooter.

“When operated properly in accordance with the rules provided by the owners, the devices are safe and not dangerous,” he said. “Helmets are recommended, though not required.”

Penalties outlined in the draft bicycle and related devices ordinance includes:

  • First violation: A civil offense, and shall be punished by a fine not less than $50 per violation;
  • Second violation: A civil offense, and shall be punished by a fine not less than $250 per violation; and
  • Third violation: A third or subsequent violation within one year of conviction of a first violation is a class one misdemeanor and shall be punished, in addition to any other penalties authorized by law, by a fine not less than $1,000.

Northeast Valley News Services Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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