People who frequent the Austin Hike and Bike Trail are frustrated by the number of people riding electric scooters and bikes there. “Suddenly there's a lot of the motorized scooters out here,” said Peggy Diehl who walks on the trail frequently.
People who exercise on the trail regularly say electric dockless scooters and bikes are taking over.
“There are too many of them on the weekend,” Diehl said.
“Just doing my half walk/run, four of them were on the trail,” said Steve Maddox, who visits the trail weekly. The Parks Department said they've received several complaints about safety issues on the trail caused by the scooters.
“There's a lot of little kids on the weekend, and younger people and families that are holding hands with young children, and coming around the corners real fast, the scooters can't stop in time,” Diehl said.
“It's something that we're real concerned about,” said Ricardo Soliz, acting assistant director of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. There is already a ban on motorized vehicles on recreational trails in Austin. Soliz said electric scooters and bikes fall under that category, but many people are unaware that they're prohibited.
“I didn't know,” said Diehl.
“I think we could educate people a little bit more,” Maddox said.
The Parks and Recreation Department takes the blame for that.
“We're behind the issue at this point because we have not communicated to the public as to whether they're permitted or prohibited on the hike-and-bike trail or on recreational trails,” said Soliz.
The department said they are planning to install temporary signs to let people know they cannot ride electric scooters or bikes on the trail. They will roll out permanent signs down the road. “That is something we're going to get started on right away to communicate that to the public,” Soliz said.
In the meantime, people on the trail said a little patience and awareness will go a long way. “Austin's a great place and let's try to just work together to respect each other's space,” said Maddox.
To report an electric bike or scooter on the trail call 3-1-1. If complaints continue, the Parks and Recreation Department will turn to Austin police to help with enforcement.