SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Riding a motorized scooter on a downtown Salt Lake City sidewalk is illegal and city officials said they are about to start aggressively enforcing that law in an effort to protect pedestrians.
Despite the law, officials said dozens of riders violate that rule every day.
“I want people to know that the sidewalk riding issue is a real issue and we’re going to keep working with until we get to the point where people feel like we’ve fully addressed it,” said Salt Lake City Transportation Director Jon Larsen.
He said the scooters work great in downtown but acknowledged changes have been needed since scooters hit downtown streets in July 2018.
“I’d say it’s been a problem since day one that we’ve been figuring out, how do we make some progress on this?” Larsen said.
One of the changes, he said, is that the city plans to more fully enforce the no-sidewalk riding part of the law. Eventually, officials plan to only allow one or two companies to operate scooters in the city, down from the current number of four.
I want people to know that the sidewalk riding issue is a real issue.
–Jon Larsen, Salt Lake City Transportation
Lime, one of those four companies allowed on Salt Lake City streets, launched “Lime Patrol” to help riders understand the city’s rules about electric scooters.
The group, wearing bright green shirts, hit the streets Thursday to help riders know where they can and cannot ride scooters in downtown Salt Lake City.
“The team is out there to just gently support riders knowing what the rules are,” said Jonathan Hopkins with Lime.
Lime officials said they will have patrol members downtown during peak hours, but they know not everyone will listen to them.
“If the riders choose not to follow the rules, that’s not something we can solve,” Hopkins said. “That’s something that different parts of our government take care of.”
Larsen said the sidewalk riding ban extends to skateboarders and bicyclists with the goal of making sidewalks safer for pedestrians.
“(And) make sure that downtown is a welcoming place for everyone, whether you ride a scooter or not,” he said.