Kick Push: Rental Scooters Are Now On Wichita Streets

Jul 15, 2019

Electric scooters have hit the streets of Wichita.

Mayor Jeff Longwell held a small ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday morning at the corner of Second and Main streets, officially launching the program.

Mayor Jeff Longwell speaks at the launch event for the new scooters.
Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW

"This new method of transportation will add vibrancy to our downtown, and it'll make getting around a little easier," Longwell said.

Transit director Mike Tann says that 500 scooters were deployed Monday around the downtown area, but more than 1,100 will be available over the next few weeks.

"We're excited to see where those deployments are, and with real-time data that'll be available to us through Zagster and the other companies that are deploying, we'll be able to see very quickly where the interest is and how often they're being used," Tann said.

The city previously partnered with Zagster for its bike share program.

The scooter launch came after nine months of debate, writing new city ordinances and a pilot program to regulate the use of scooters and address issues that other cities have faced.

Riders must be 18 or older to rent the scooters, which cannot be operated on public sidewalks. Instead, scooters are allowed on streets, bike paths and multi-use lanes. Only one person can be on a scooter at a time.

The new ordinances only affect rented electric scooters, not privately owned ones.

In response to the safety concerns raised by the scooters using the same lanes as cars, Longwell advised drivers to "treat them like you would bicyclists."

The scooters will be available to use from sunrise to 9 p.m. daily.

Kevin Benavides is an intern in the KMUW News Lab.