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Scooters and accessibility: Denver's guidelines are there, but still a work in progress

Companies operating e-scooters must follow a general set of guidelines to ensure accessibility for people using wheelchairs and pedestrians.
Credit: KUSA

Electric scooters arrived in Denver early in the summer, disappeared for about two months as the city scrambled to figure out a set of regulations and then reappeared late July.

The reaction to the "toy vehicles" -- as the city deems them -- has been a mixed bag. Some people love them, others hate them, said Nancy Kuhn, director and public information officer for Denver Public Works.

"The feedback has been mixed – some people love it as a new mobility option, while others are not so crazy about the scooters and dockless bikes," Kuhn said.

But what if a scooter impedes access to things like wheelchairs, pedestrians or strollers?

Kuhn said right now the scooter permitting program is a pilot, and the city is still collecting comments from people, as well as monitoring behavior and maintaining "close communication" with operators about compliance issues.

"The permits are revocable, so it’s in the operators’ best interest to encourage their users to ride responsibly and park appropriately at bus and transit stops," she said.

The Americans With Disabilities Act mandates that there be a 36-inch pass-of-travel along areas like sidewalks.

For now, Kuhn said there is a general set of guidelines to ensure people using wheelchairs, and others, have enough room to pass:

  • Bicycles must follow the rules of the road and local laws when in use.
  • E-scooters are considered “toy vehicles” and are not allowed in the bike lanes or in general traffic. People riding e-scooters should yield to pedestrians in all situations.
  • City and County of Denver staff are actively working to evaluate current ordinance language and determine the best location for users to operate these types of toy vehicle in the public right of way in order to maintain both public safety and infrastructure. Safety for all users of our transportation network is of utmost priority as we review options and evaluate the pilot program.
  • Users must observe and respect all designated “no ride/no parking areas”
  • This program is being permitted through Public Work’s existing Transit Amenity Program and operators will be continuously required to make vehicles available at these locations (bus or light rail). Users are encouraged to return vehicles to these locations.
  • All dockless vehicles must be parked in a manner that does not impede pedestrian clear paths or access in the right of way (sidewalk area or street) or block the boarding or departure of transit users.
  • If a scooter or bike is blocking public sidewalk access or is on private property, please contact the operator directly for the fastest removal or adjustment of vehicles. Contact information for each operator is below. The color behind the name corresponds to the primary color of the bike/scooter to help callers identify which operator to contact.


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