Rental Electric Scooters A Go In Wichita

Jun 18, 2019

Rental electric scooters have the green light in Wichita.

The Wichita City Council unanimously passed a city ordinance and electric scooter pilot program at its meeting Tuesday. The ordinance and pilot program regulate the use of scooters, particularly to address clutter issues that other cities have experienced.

“The advantage that we have is we’re really not out in front on this particular opportunity,” Mayor Jeff Longwell said earlier this month while discussing the pilot program. “Other cities have tried it and seen lots of different problems.”

Rental scooters will not be allowed on public sidewalks, but instead are limited to bike lanes, park paths and streets where the speed limit is under 40 miles per hour. The scooters will also have pickup locations.

Scooter use will be limited from dawn to dusk, or 9 p.m.

Before Tuesday's vote, Wichita did not have an ordinance regulating scooters.

“One of our concerns is that this is a new technology for Wichita,” Wichita Transit Director Michael Tann said earlier this month. “We want to make sure that as well as being a learning process for the users of the scooters, that it’s a learning process for our citizens and to make sure that we walk before we run in this process.”

The vote was postponed last week when a Wichita resident, who used his own electric scooter to get to work, raised questions about whether personal scooters will fall under the new ordinance.

The ordinance now excludes personal scooters.

Rental scooters may hit downtown streets later this summer.

Kylie Cameron is part of the KMUW News Lab.