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Electric Scooters in Bozeman Generate Excitement and Safety Concerns

Posted at 5:58 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 19:58:34-04

BOZEMAN — Electric scooters have been roaming the streets of downtown Bozeman for more than two months, and reactions to the alternative mode of transportation have been mixed.

But even with the mixed reviews, owner of Blink Rides in Bozeman, Lana Kitto says her electric scooter business is doing even better than she anticipated.

“I get stopped a lot for people thanking me for bringing this to Bozeman as a way to move,” Kitto said. “It’s kind of nice to have Bozeman on the micro mobility map.”

For $1.50 plus thirty cents a minute, Blink Rides scooters allow people to get around Bozeman more efficiently than walking or in your car and stuck in traffic. There’s been a lot of excitement over the electric scooters, but police officials still have some concerns over their safety.

“Anything that would be considered a negligent endangerment – just doing something unsafe negligently endangering others by being drunk on any sort of vehicle whether it’s a bicycle or a scooter or even a skateboard,” said Captain Dana McNeil of the Bozeman Police Department. “That can be considered negligent endangerment of the person and others.”

Kitto shares Captain McNeil’s concerns of drunk riders.

“If somebody is on it drunk, not making good decisions, and have lost impairment to think quickly, that’s going to cause problems,” Kitto said. “And I encourage the police to stop those behaviors.”

Captain McNeil says the most common violation has been riding the electric scooters on the sidewalk. With a max speed of 15 mph, the scooter’s become a safety issue if they’re ridden where pedestrians walk.

“We see a lot of violations of the scooters on the sidewalk,” Captain McNeil said. “The reason that we have the ordinance to prevent scooters, bicycles, rollerblades, and skateboards and all that downtown is specifically for everybody’s safety.”

The electric scooters have been a unique way to get around Bozeman during the summer, but the scooters will be pulled from the streets during the winter starting in November.