By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– A rough introduction led to their removal, now electric scooters for rent are returning to the streets of Denver.

Some are happy with the news that alternative transportation will be back on the streets. Adam Lerner puts on his helmet and commutes to work every day. He does it on his “one wheel”. It’s an electric single wheeled device.

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Starting soon, he will be joined on the sidewalks with an army of electric scooters for rent.

“I feel positive about having electric scooters in Denver, anything get out of car is a good thing,” Lerner said.

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If the electric scooters look familiar, it’s because two companies sprung them on the City of

Denver recently without any permits. They were left practically anywhere. The companies were fined some $40,000 and withdrew those that weren’t confiscated.

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Nick Barber, the Regional Operations Manager for one of the operators, Lime, is ready for the second chance.

“We obviously went back and forth with Public Works for a little while but I am excited where we are now.” Barber told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

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Now the scooters and dockless bike companies will be back after paying $15,000 for a permit plus a fee for each bike and scooter. The rules will require parking them only at a train or bus station.

Heather Burke, a spokesperson for the Denver Department of Public Works warns, “You know, this is a revocable permit so it’s in the best interest of the operators to educate users.”

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They must stay on sidewalks, not in the bike lanes. It’s $1 to start then 15 cents a minute for Lime.

The so-called “dockless mobility” is the latest part of a city plan to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles on the streets.

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Meg Good is another person who welcomes them, “Yeah it’s getting cars off the road and some people aren’t so agile on a bike.”

Lime is just one of five companies to receive permits, so ready or not, here they come again.

Denver Public Works issued the following information: Denver is excited to test these new mobility options and determine if the pilot is meeting the City’s intent to enhance the use of transit and bus service throughout the city, provide people with more choices in how they move around town, and reduce single occupancy vehicle trips. The public can share input, feedback, and observations about the program by emailing docklessmobility@denvergov.org.

Additional Information from the City of Denver:

Current City and County of Denver Ordinance and State Law classifies e-scooters as “toy vehicles” and requires them to operate on the sidewalk.  They are currently prohibited from riding in the roadway or in bicycle lanes. Riders are urged to watch speeds and yield to pedestrians at all times. City Staff are reviewing existing ordinance language to understand whether changes to the existing regulations should be proposed.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger (credit: CBS)

Users are asked to return dockless scooters and bikes to bus stops or transit stops and operators will be required to continuously rebalance the vehicles to these locations. City staff will be closely monitoring the program following the launch to understand any adjustments that need to be made to the pilot as well as determine where painted dockless parking areas are needed to provide additional parking direction to users.  These painted boxes will likely be installed starting in late August.

Dockless vehicles parked in the public right of way at transit and bus stops by users or operator staff must follow the following guidelines:

  1. Do not block the movements of pedestrians and always provide 5’ clear width.
  2. Park adjacent to transit stops when available and at least 1.5’ from the back of curb/flowline.
  3. Preserve pedestrian sight triangles at intersections, alleys, and driveways as well as to bus/LRT operations at stops
  4. Vehicles should be upright when parked.
  5. Vehicles shall not impede access to utilities, or access from the street to the sidewalk.
  6. At least 8 feet of clear walkway shall be provided for all sidewalks on arterial streets.
  7. Additional clear width may be required in high pedestrian areas, as determined by DPW.
  8. Park in painted dockless parking areas, when available.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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