Since electric scooter rental services started operating in Bloomington in September, we’ve had another way to get around town and explore our parks and trails. At the same time, this new mode of transportation is posing challenges to safety, accessibility, and aesthetics in our city.
While city officials are currently considering adopting an ordinance to regulate the use of electric scooters in Bloomington, we’ve developed the following guidelines from our municipal code in order to promote safety, civility, accessibility, and order on our streets, sidewalks, and trails while enjoying this new mobility option:
1. Scooters may be used in the street. Riders using scooters in the street must obey the rules of the road, including stopping at stop signs and traffic lights, signaling turns, and following the direction of traffic.
2. Scooters may be used on multi-use trails, multi-use paths, and on uncrowded sidewalks outside the city center. Riders using scooters on trails, paths, and sidewalks must observe the rules governing bicycles on these same routes, such as:
- Yield right-of-way to pedestrians,
- Pass pedestrians at a distance of at least three feet,
- Alert other vehicles and pedestrians in front of you with an audible signal before overtaking and passing them,
- Do not suddenly move into the path of an oncoming pedestrian or vehicle, and
- Give particular consideration to avoid startling visually impaired pedestrians.
3. Do not ride scooters on sidewalks or in crosswalks marked “Dismount Zone” in the center of Bloomington, on the following streets:
- Fourth Street from Indiana Avenue to Grant Street
- Kirkwood Avenue from Indiana Avenue to Morton Street
- Sixth Street from Walnut Street to Morton Street
- Walnut Street from Fourth Street to Seventh Street
- College Avenue from Fourth Street to Seventh Street
4. Ride with courtesy, respect, and caution. Helmet use is strongly recommended.
5. Follow the rules you accept with the rental agreement. For example, riders must be 18 years or older, the scooter may be used by the renter alone, and texting or other distracting behaviors are prohibited while riding.
6. Park the scooter in a bike rack or in another lawful spot on public property that does not block the right-of-way, limit access for individuals with disabilities, risk damaging private or public property, or jeopardize public safety.
Riders who do not observe these guidelines may be subject to penalties in the form of fines consistent with state law and the Bloomington Municipal Code. If we all make the effort to use scooters responsibly, these vehicles can enhance our mobility options and add to our fun in Bloomington for years to come.