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Ride those electric scooters in bike lanes when you can, Denver City Council mandates

Denver's City Council voted on Monday to change rules on where dockless electric scooters are allowed to be ridden. They are now classified as "Electric Mobility Scooters," rather than "toy vehicles," meaning they should primarily be ridden in bike lanes.

After months of confusion surrounding rules related to those electric scooters that invaded Denver over the summer, city council members voted on Monday night to approve changes on where they are allowed to operate.  

Dockless scooters are now classified as "Electric Mobility Scooters," subjecting them to a different set of rules. The big change is that scooter users should now use bike lanes whenever they are available.

If a bike lane isn't an option, riders are allowed to ride on the far right side of the road, but only if the speed limit of that road isn't more than 30 miles per hour.

If the speed limit is 30 miles per hour or more, scooters can be ridden on the sidewalk as long as they don't go faster than 6 miles per hour and yield to pedestrians at all times. 

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Speeds for both Bird and Lime scooters max out around 15 miles per hour. However, only Lime scooters have speedometers.

Before the change was approved, scooters were considered “toy vehicles,” that by law were required to be ridden sidewalks. 

Council members Mary Beth Susman and Paul Kashmann, as well as representatives from Denver Public Works, championed the bill.

"[The bill| was due to citizen feedback and the concern people have had with scooters on sidewalks," Susman said in an email to 9NEWS.

In the coming months, Denver’s Parks & Recreation Department is expected to suggest rules on how scooters can be better used on trails and in parks.

9NEWS reached out to several of the dockless scooter companies that can be found around the city. We will update the story with responses.

Lime's statement: "Over the past months, we’ve worked closely with the Department of Public Works, the City Council and the Mayor's Office on this initiative. Allowing scooters in bike lanes will enhance the safety of riders and pedestrians, while continuing to provide residents with convenient transportation options like Lime that help alleviate congestion in dense urban areas. "

Lyft's statement: "We applaud Denver for taking a big step forward by opening up bike lanes and low-speed streets to scooter users. Lyft is excited to share this information with our riders, and will be doing so via in-app messaging when they are looking for a scooter, as well as providing additional information on our website. We are proud to be providers of scooters in Denver, and we’re excited to continue the bigger discussion about how micromobility of all kinds-- including bikes and scooters-- can help accelerate the push for safer, more sustainable streets." 

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