AUSTIN, Texas — Austin City Councilmember Mackenzie Kelly (District 6) planned to present a resolution to improve electric scooter safety and sidewalk congestion in Downtown Austin.
Electric scooters have been regulated in Downtown Austin since 2018. The scooters can be a fun and useful way to navigate the streets of the city, but for some, the devices can be dangerous.
It's not unusual to see scooters scattered all across the sidewalks downtown. In a response to this, Kelly planned to present a resolution to city council on Thursday that asks the city manager, the Austin Transportation Department and any stakeholders to come up with potential code changes for using micro-mobility devices.
At this time, the devices do not have to be parked and locked in a specific area. The resolution would look into limiting where e-scooters can be parked and fining those who don't follow the rules. It also calls for a study into speed limitations in certain locations, re-evaluating geo-fencing barriers, implementing brake and lighting requirements and adding a sensor to let companies know if a scooter gets knocked over.
Kelly would also like to require riders to take a picture of the device to ensure there is documentation of proper parking along sidewalks and designated parking zones. Educating the public on scooter safety and the rules for scooters is key, according to Kelly.
"This is something that we can make changes to in a positive way for the residents of the city of Austin and also alleviate some of not just the safety concerns, but also just the congestion concerns," Kelly said.
As of October 2022, there have been an average of 10,000 rides per day on micro-mobility devices in Austin. Councilmembers Zo Quadri (District 9) and Chito Vela (District 4), as well as Mayor Kirk Watson, are co-sponsoring Kelly's resolution.
The expected vote regarding this resolution was postponed.