Bird e-scooters in San Jose.

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E-Scooters Need Uniformed Rules Of The Road, Study Says

Carrie Hodousek
May 23, 2019 - 8:12 pm

A new study from the Mineta Transportation Institution at San Jose State finds there aren’t any definitive regulations for riders of e-scooters and other devices.

In many cases, it's unclear what an e-scooter rider should or shouldn't do on the road.  Depending on where you are, you might be required to ride on the sidewalk, or prohibited from riding on the sidewalk, or given a choice where to use the device.  Not knowing where or how to ride can be dangerous, the study said. 

"We really haven't treated these as a transportation mode in their own right, that might need its own separate set of shared understandings and rules about how riders can use the devices," said Dr. Asha Weinstein Agrawal with the Mineta Transportation Institute, who authored the study. 

The report recommends that cities establish their own set of rules for riders.

Related: Supermarkets Inspire Possible Solution To Complaints About E-Scooters

"If they wish to ride in the roadway, they should be treated as a bicycle," said Weinstein Agrawal.

Or, the report suggests, they should be allowed to ride on the sidewalks if they can do so in a way that is slow and respectful of pedestrians.  It's also important, Weinstein Agrawal said, that riders not use the sidewalks when they are crowded with people.

The report states that just as drivers aren't expected to follow different driving rules in different communities, there should be a standard for e-scooter riders as well.