Electric scooters are catching on in Utah.
Salt Lake City has had them for some time now. Ogden just added them this spring. Now, Provo could be the next city to have rental electric scooters and bikes lined up on its street corners.
As Utah becomes more and more crowded, and as Provo absorbs more students, the demand on our roads increases. The implementation of Utah Valley Express buses has been a positive step in mass transit. Now, Provo has the opportunity to try another alternative mode of transportation to ease the use of motor vehicles — a type of transportation that’s convenient and ease of use attracts the 30,000-plus young adults that call Provo home while in college.
It has the potential to drive more people to areas like downtown Provo, and bridge the gap between an individual’s workplace or home and mass transit like UVX or FrontRunner. It could ease the number of vehicles young BYU students bring to Provo and park on its streets in the 2-mile radius, as they can utilize motorized bicycles to get them from home to campus. What a great way to encourage more sustainable practices!
We at least think these innovative ways of transportation are worth trying; though, there is always the potential for unforeseen complications.
We fully acknowledge some cities have encountered issues as they have incorporated these alternative modes of transportation into the public sphere. If problems arise? Regulate it to address those problems, if possible. Otherwise, Provo always has the ability to change its stance if it’s not as fruitful as once believed.
A major concern is always safety, and that’s very understandable. Public safety should always be at the forefront when adopting something new. Some scooter companies are more responsible than others at identifying safety measures prior to use. Many request riders wear helmets, and in our experience we have rarely seen a rider in other cities acquiesce with this requirement. It will require publicity about the safety needs and dangers — perhaps more than just the company’s own efforts.
In Ogden, the city has already seen youth — despite the scooters’ age restrictions — use the transportation in unsafe and prohibited ways like jumping sets of stairs and shattering a leg or arm. But, the city is also seeing use as a valuable commodity, especially around times of big events that often generate significant vehicular traffic concerns like this week’s Heritage Festival celebrating Spike 150.
As with many things in this world, users must exercise caution and common sense when using any motorized vehicle ... be that a car, moped or motorcycle. Electric scooters or electric bikes are no different.