MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Dockless scooters might be the latest trend for downtown transportation, but for those who struggle with mobility there are worries new wheels could stop them in their tracks.
Kody Olson is Public Policy Director for the Minnesota Council on Disability.
“We’re going to ensure we are fighting for our community’s right to access,” Olson said.
Olson didn’t look far to find an example of what not to do when customers complete their trip.
“I found a scooter right in the middle of a door right in my office building. It was actually in front of the wheelchair accessible entrance,” Olson said.
Now, the council is asking people to consider where they leave this stuff, away from curbs and buildings to give people in wheelchairs and with visual impairments plenty of space. Scooters and bikes should be parked in the public right of way or boulevard: the small space between the curb and sidewalk.
Cities are still scrambling to update old policies after new transportation programs have exploded this summer in the Twin Cities.
In Minneapolis, a total of 400 scooters will be rolled out along with 1500 dockless bikes. In St. Paul– it’s about half that. That’s all in addition to the 1800 Nice Ride bikes available at more than 200 locations in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Scott Engel is blind and serves as an Our Streets board member in Minneapolis.
“Let’s see how it goes,” Engel said.
Engel believes barriers like snow, ice and large construction projects pose more of a problem. Still, he hopes riders remain respectful.
“Just be aware of what you’re doing that effects other people,” Engel said.
Minneapolis will roll out a unique twist to its program next month; bikes will be required to be returned to painted or signed zones rather than just anywhere in the boulevard.
Bike and scooter vendors provide detailed instructions in their app of how to safely park the scooters.
And, if the public sees misplaced scooters, they can call the 800 number on the scooter or bike and the company will move it.