Electric scooter trial debuts in Colorado Springs, but not yet at UCCS

Tom Baker 

tbaker8@uccs.edu 

     Rentable e-scooters are now available in Colorado Springs, giving pedestrians a new way to get around the downtown and Old Colorado City areas.    

     On Oct. 6, Lime and Veo scooters began their one-year trial to see if they were a good fit for Colorado Springs. Neither company’s scooters will be allowed on UCCS or CC campuses. 

     UCCS Chief of Police Marc Pino wrote in an e-mail, “We met with facilities, the Bicycle Advisory Committee, and other stakeholders and determined we wanted to wait and see how the project went for Colorado Springs before looking to bring them onto campus.”    

     He continued, “This pilot phase is mostly directed at downtown areas, and with the University Village’s property decided to block access, we did not see the added benefit to campus. Once the pilot period is over, we can take their lessons learned to evaluate the benefit to the campus.”    

     According to KKTV, 600 scooters have been supplied and are available in the downtown and westside areas. Lime scooters have limited access and only include the downtown and Old Colorado City areas.   

     The Veo scooters offer many more available areas to ride in. The map on the Veo app shows the scooters can ride in all the areas open to Lime scooters, as well as Briargate, Cimmaron Hills and as far south as Fort Carson. However, the scooters must be parked in the downtown area.     

     There are sporadic areas throughout Colorado Springs where the scooters are not allowed. The scooters will begin to slow down, then eventually stop working if the riders attempt to bring them into unauthorized areas.   

     Some unauthorized areas include parks, golf courses, cemeteries, military bases and all college campuses except PPCC. Scooters are also unauthorized on all public transportation buses.    

     Colorado Springs will use the one-year trial to ensure that the scooters do not become a nuisance or bring about considerable safety hazards. The test is also to determine how well either company responds to common issues of parking and misuse.     

     The scooters must be parked in designated areas, and the app will make the rider take a picture of the parked scooter to ensure it is properly stored.    

     According to KKTV, the scooters cost $1 to unlock, and then it charges 29 to 38 cents per minute, depending on the company. These scooters are designed to help with traffic and parking issues by giving pedestrians another option for getting around high traffic concentration areas.   

     The app provides the scooters’ location, battery level and range. In addition, riders can reserve a scooter from the app for up to 10 minutes to prevent others from taking the scooter. 

     The biggest concern regarding the scooters is their safety. Helmets are encouraged but not required, and according to the Gazette, the companies may begin offering lower prices for riders that can prove they are wearing a helmet.   

     Parking corrals will be available throughout the downtown area, but riders are not required to leave the scooters in these designated areas. According to the Gazette, all efforts were made to avoid the parking issues experienced when Denver first introduced the scooters.  

     In 2018, Denver faced a crisis when hundreds of scooters littered the town with no set policies in place for them. 

     Todd Frisbie, Colorado Springs traffic engineering division manager, told the Gazette, “The city decided to be proactive about allowing electric scooters to avoid some of the problems other cities have seen.”  

     A primary concern for regulators is safety not only for riders but pedestrians as well. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commissions Sept. 2021 report, injuries using e-scooters, e-bikes and hoverboards have risen by 70% in the last four years.  

Electric scooters similar to the ones that have debuted in Colorado Springs. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com