By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– Discussions are taking place on whether to seek a change in the law to allow electric rental scooters into the bicycle lanes in Denver.

So far that’s not allowed, but CBS4 found riders are either ignoring the law or not clear on it.

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(credit: CBS)

The rules are simple, no electric scooters allowed in Denver’s bicycle lanes. But the bike lanes are populated in some places by as many scooters as bikes. Some on cyclists are happy to put up with it, others aren’t quite as tolerant.

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Callum McCance rides his bicycle in the designated lanes and told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger, “The scooters are definitely somewhat of a nuisance if there were more consistent rules that would clear things up.”

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(credit: CBS)

The problem is since the scooters are classified as “toys” they must ride on sidewalks. To allow them to legally ride in the bicycle lanes would require a change in Colorado law and Denver city ordinances.

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The legislative process could take many months.

Bicycle Colorado, which lobbies for bike riders, is all in favor of allowing the scooters according to spokesman Jack Todd.

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“At 10 to 15 mph they are a hazard for pedestrians and really shouldn’t be on the sidewalk,” he said.

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He points out the scooters, like bikes, are better for the environment than cars.

But for now, riding any electric scooter including the latest entry from Lyft is contrary to regulations. Lyft added its scooters to the streets of Denver this week bringing the total number of scooters to more than 1,000 with more to come.

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The scooters can be located, unlocked, and paid for on the Lyft app. Rideshare scooters and bikes are the newest additions to Lyft’s mission to improve people’s lives through improving transportation.

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(credit Lyft Scooters)

Lyft’s app for Denver scooters does indicate you are not allowed to ride in bike lanes.

But as CBS4 previously reported, instructions for other scooter companies are not as clear. Denver
Public Works oversees the scooter program and notes a “learning curve” is involved since the
permits and regulations are brand new. Denver Public Works spokesperson Heather Burke said other cities are now turning to Denver for guidance.

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So, what happens if you get caught by police riding a scooter in the bicycle lanes? According to
Denver police, no enforcement is taking place at the present time unless there is an accident.

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(credit Lyft Scooters)

Lyft is charging $1 to unlock a scooter and .15 cents for each minute the ride is open. The scooters will be available to ride from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Riders must be 18-years-old with a valid driver’s license.

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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