Shared electric scooters may be headed toward Bend, though they won’t arrive until at least summer 2020. Until then, what are known as “shared micromobility” businesses renting the machines are likely to be banned from local streets and sidewalks.
City councilors will consider an ordinance Wednesday that would put the ban in place, and they should agree to do so.
E-scooters have become a common sight in cities from Sacramento, California, to Washington, D.C. They were tested in Portland last summer. They’ll be back in Portland this year, though with far more governing rules.
That’s because e-scooters can be a mixed blessing. They’re cheap to operate and a would-be driver need not worry about getting them back to a rental shop. Instead, drivers simply leave scooters where their rides end; others pick them up, charge them and put them back into circulation.
That very freedom can cause problems, however. Scooters left on sidewalks and other public rights of way can make travel more difficult for pedestrians and for those with disabilities.
E-scooters ridden on sidewalks are also a problem, particularly for those with disabilities. In fact, disability rights advocates were vocal last summer about Portland’s difficulty regulating their use on city sidewalks. Similar complaints have come up in other places they have been introduced.
Bend wants to get the rules regarding scooters right the first time. With a ban in place, the city will have more time to do that. That’s a far better approach than either adopting hastily written rules or just seeing what happens.