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Do we really need to regulate scooters?

By Scott Tibbs, October 10, 2018

We are always afraid of the new thing, aren't we? We do not understand it, and we assume it is worse than it actually is. Then we have the inevitable calls for government to regulate that new thing.

The same pattern is playing out with motorized scooters, new to Bloomington. I am frankly very glad that the scooter companies simply started operating instead of asking for permission, because city government would have likely regulated it into oblivion - if they were allowed to operate at all. Then a convenient (and fun!) way of getting around town would never have been an option. Who knows how many jobs would be affected by this.

As far as safety, let's compare them to bicycles. My bike riding skills are sub-par, and that it putting it mildly. I haven't actually ridden a bicycle since elementary school. I cannot speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself: With my poor coordination, I would be much better off on a scooter than on a bicycle. The people worried about safety issues can look at bicycles as a comparison point.

To me, the answer is fairly simple. We do not need a significant new regulatory scheme for the scooters. Mandate that if the scooters go over a certain speed, they must be used in bike lanes and they must follow the same rules of the road that cyclists are expected to follow. Those who leave scooters around haphazardly would be ticketed for littering. There is no reason that we cannot apply existing standards to the use of the scooters.