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Idaho Falls debates e-scooter ordinance

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E-Scooters | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

IDAHO FALLS — As electric scooters or “e-scooters” become increasingly popular in eastern Idaho, cities are trying to figure out how to best deal with them.

In September, Rexburg adopted an electric scooter operating agreement, and now a similar type of legislation is being discussed in Idaho Falls.

On Tuesday, the Idaho Falls City Council discussed a proposed ordinance and talked about everything from safety, equipment requirements and where and how e-scooters are allowed to be ridden. The council also spent time on speed limits, an abandoned equipment removal process, licensing and registration process and penalties for violations of any of the rules and regulations.

“This is a pertinent and timely issue in many cities across the nation,” Economic Development Coordinator Dana Briggs said during the meeting. “Idaho Falls is no exception.”

Briggs said in the meeting there have been “knocks at the door” regarding e-scooter companies expressing interest to her about regulations being created. She informed them an ordinance was already in the works.

“Internally as we discussed this, there seemed to be some reason to at least have some basic provisions in response to safety issues and clutter,” Community Development Services Director Brad Cramer said. “But the catalyst was companies contacting us saying they wanted to operate in Idaho Falls.”

RELATED | Electric scooters roll into Rexburg – at least for now

Cramer said they examined other cities’ ordinances and they modeled their draft ordinance after Boise’s approach. Briggs believes it’s a benefit learning from cities that have already instituted this ordinance.

“Boise did their original ordinance in October 2018 and less than a year later, they amended it,” Briggs said in the meeting. “And so seeing some of those changes and why they felt like those were needed was helpful.”

As they looked at other cities’ ordinances, they found that they also debated whether or not they should enforce a geofence. This would allow boundaries to be set where one can ride the e-scooter. If someone traveled outside of the allowed limits the city set in place, the scooter would slow down or shut off.

“There is no geofence established by this ordinance,” Cramer said. “It just allows the opportunity for one to be established if we feel like there is a need.”

Several departments worked on compiling the e-scooter ordinance including the police, city attorney’s office, parks and recreation department, community development services, public works and Briggs.

It’s not clear when the ordinance will be finalized or voted on.

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