By now you have seen the lime green electric scooters that have popped up all over downtown Evansville. These E-scooters seem to be a lot of fun. I mean you scan it with your phone and buy run time on it, then you hop on and take it for a spin. But did you know that there are safety guidelines - and even a city ordinance - for these scooters.

My first experience with e-scooters was on a visit with my daughter in Louisville, Kentucky. We were exploring the Highlands and Bardstown Road where we noticed all of the white and lime-green scooters. They were everywhere! Fast forward, and now they are littered all over our beloved, Downtown Evansville (including in some less-than-desirable locations - like the top of our parking garage)

While the Lime scooters that we see downtown, which were created based on the concept that "all communities deserve access to smart, affordable mobility," are new to the city in 2021, there is actually a city ordinance regarding e-scooters that was passed and filed in December 2019. The ordinance applies to both the rentable scooters that we see around town and those that may be privately owned.

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According to the ordinance, e-scooters are to be operated on roadways while observing the basic rules of the road: traffic lights, signs, signals, and laws. This includes yielding to other traffic and to pedestrians. But let's go back to that part about operating on roadways for a second. The ordinance also says that e-scooters are not allowed to be operated on:

  • interstate highways
  • highways
  • expressways
  • sidewalks
  • alleys

Wait. What? You read that right. E-scooters are not permitted on sidewalks or in alleys. While the highways and expressways part is a no-brainer, I was shocked to see sidewalks and alleys on this list. They also are not allowed "within the designated boundaries of a special event" or on "greenways and non-street trails."

Now that we know where we can ride them, who can ride them? To operate an e-scooter in the city of Evansville, you must be at least 16 years old and you must be able to provide a valid ID as proof of age. You also can't buddy up. Only one rider at a time is permitted. It is also illegal to operate an e-scooter under the influence of drugs, alcohol or other mind-altering substances - In fact, the same laws apply as they would if you were to get behind the wheel of a car with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher. Yes, you can get a DUI on an e-scooter.

There are additional rules within the ordinance, particularly as it applies to companies who own the scooters as well as where they may be lawfully parked. To learn more, you can view the full city ordinance regarding e-scooters here.

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