Electric scooter vote delayed by Wichita City Council

WICHITA, Kan. The Wichita City Council was set to vote to approve a pilot project to bring electric scooter service to the city this morning.

Bird rideshare electric scooters | Photo Credit: Grendelkhan / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 4.0 / MGN

But, a resident raised concerns about his own personal scooter. He says he uses a scooter to commute to and from work, and under the new ordinance, he won't be able to do so.

The City Council said they had not considered that aspect and decided to delay the vote.

They will discuss it more next week.

The resident who raised the concerns, Matt Bradshaw, says his lightweight scooter is his primary mode of transportation, but the rules provided in the pilot program would effectively keep him off the road.

"This ban is okay for people that live in the downtown area where 35 miles per hour is the highest speed, but outside of that downtown area, you have a complete restriction outside of residential areas," he says.

The "ban" Bradshaw's talking about are suggested rules for the program that would keep scooters off sidewalks, allow them only on roads with posted speed limits of 40 mph or less and prohibit scooter use after dark.

"Here in Wichita, in the winter time, it's dark by 6:45 (p.m.)," Bradshaw says. "If I'm leaving at 6:15, takes me 30 minutes to get home, I chance getting a ticket and they're proposing a $35 impound fee. So, I'm going to have to get downtown just to pay $35. My e-scooter is going to be dead. I'm going to have to carry it."

Wichita City Council member James Clendenin says feedback from Wichita residents like Bradshaw is important for how the city is able to craft new policy that works.

"It can be very intimidating to talk to the city council, but we do consider what people are saying," he says. "We had one guy (Tuesday) come and let his concerns be heard and we deferred an item so that it could be discussed more."

With the council's decision to hold off on a decision until more research can be done, Bradshaw says it's a win.