Update: Dockless scooters scoot into Stillwater
Updated on Aug. 24, 2018
Following additional research of state law last night, the City Attorney’s Office has determined that use of motorized scooters (such as the Bird Ride’s electric scooters) on city streets is legal and must follow the same rules as riding a bicycle. In Stillwater, that means wheeled conveyances such as bikes, scooters, skates and skateboards are allowed on city sidewalks, except for in business districts like downtown, The Strip and Campus Corner. This prohibition does not include wheelchairs. People who choose to use one of these wheeled conveyances should operate it in the same manner as a bicycle. This means obeying stop signs and other traffic control devices.
There is significant ambiguity between city ordinance and state law regarding the use of motorized scooters on sidewalks away from business districts. Removing the ambiguity will require modification of several city ordinances.
Another ongoing issue is the use of the public rights-of-way for commercial purposes. On Monday, Aug. 27, the City Council will discuss the necessary ordinances to address this issue.
As previously mentioned in yesterday’s release, city hall believes there is a place for scooters in multi-modal transportation. Confusion would be avoided if companies contact the City before launching pop-up businesses.
Finally, should you encounter one of the scooters on your private property, or discover a scooter obstructing a sidewalk, call police dispatch at 405.372.4171 to have the scooter removed.
For more information related to the operation of bicycles and motor vehicles on streets, visit https://www.dmv-test-pro.com/o
Bird Rides Inc. (Bird) recently placed dozens of dockless rental scooters in City of Stillwater rights-of-way. This action was taken without first obtaining permission from the City to use these areas for a commercial purpose, and in doing so, violated numerous City ordinances.
“The City recognizes the potential benefit of such service,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “Unfortunately, City ordinances do not presently authorize this type of commercial activity and until they are amended to permit such use, Bird’s operations on City rights-of-way are illegal.”
Recent identical problems have occurred in other Oklahoma cities, such as Oklahoma City and Norman.
Currently, Stillwater’s ordinances prohibit riding motorized scooters on City sidewalks and streets. Those who rent one of these scooters and operate it on a City sidewalk are subject to citation by the Stillwater Police Department and if convicted, payment of a fine.
According to McNickle, City Administration is aware these scooters have become popular in other areas of the country and that there may be local support for this activity.
“I’ve spoken with a Bird Rides representative and asked them to remove the scooters from service until the City can study the issue and respond,” he said. “We want all affected entities to weigh in on the issue.”
Stillwater City Council has authority to amend ordinances that prohibit commercial business on City property and modes of transportation that currently are not legal to use on streets or sidewalks.
“I wish they [Bird] would have consulted the City before beginning operations,” McNickle said. “The safety of all of our residents, whether it be bicyclists, vehicle drivers, pedestrians, and now, scooter riders, is of utmost concern to City staff.”
Stillwater City Council has scheduled to discuss the amending of ordinances related to this during its next regular meeting, Aug. 27, 2018.
“We’re excited to see how we can work with this type of business model to create an accessible, safe and convenient solution for everyone,” McNickle said.