Clear dockless scooter rules coming by end of May in Austin

There's been an awful lot of talk lately at Austin City Hall about getting people out of their cars. "In our city 74% of the people that commute downtown do it alone in their cars.  We need to change that number," said Mayor Adler Thursday.  

The City has been working on something called a "Strategic Mobility Plan" basically looking ahead at getting around over the coming decades. Mayor Adler spoke at the launch of a new community coalition to support the plan called "MoveATX."  

"We're going to go from 2 million to 4 million people, that's a 100% increase and in that same period of time over the next 25 years it's expected that our infrastructure at best can only increase about 15%," he said. The goal is to get that 74% of solo drivers down to a 50/50 split between vehicle drivers and those who use other modes of transportation.  

Speaking of "other modes of transportation," Council briefly discussed a work-in-progress set of rules for so-called "Micro-mobility" devices like scooters. "It would create dismount zones, it would set up enforcement abilities to obey the rules of the road, restrict it to reasonable speed limits," said Council Member Jimmy Flannigan.  

Some Council Members still have some questions and concerns.  

They want to get it right so they voted to postpone finalizing the rules.

"The doubling of fines, I'm not certain why that's necessary and what the sort of inadvertent implications of that would be for people who already can't afford fines," said Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison during the meeting.

"Who is liable when it's not a motor vehicle involved?  So if a dockless scooter hits a person who is walking, who carries that liability?  Is it the company, is it the operator?  How is all of that playing out?  And I want to make sure that we've dotted our I's and crossed our T's," said Council Member Alison Alter.

Council Member Flannigan voted against the postponement.  He's ready to roll on this. "This community is ready to act.  And I think it's time for the council to get serious about its job, to get these ordinances on the ground and let's get moving," he said.

Council is hoping to vote on the rules on or before May 23rd.



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