Electric rental scooters are popular in big cities: Lime brand scooters can be found in cities across the nation including Salt Lake City and Ogden. While the scooters provide easy and accessible transit, they’re also cited as sometimes being a nuisance—earlier this month, Paris voted to ban rentable e-scooters. 

Utah’s state code establishes e-scooters with the same regulations as bikes, exempting scooters from motor vehicle requirements like licensing and registration. E-scooter riders have to follow the same rules as bike riders, like traffic laws. While municipalities in Utah do have the power to regulate e-scooters—regulations could include speed limits or restricting riding on sidewalks—they do not have the power to outright ban e-scooters, like Paris did, without also banning bicycles. 

Scooter-share businesses are interested in establishing themselves in Moab, according to Richard Lory, the city’s transit director. During the regular April 11 City Council meeting, he advised the council to be proactive in creating regulations on scooter-share operations to “ensure future operations best fit Moab’s needs.” 

Moab has three options for regulation, Lory said. It could establish regulations through the business license process—licenses could be terminated if businesses don’t follow requirements; it could put out a request for proposals (RFP) to contract a scooter-share business directly through the city, which would allow the city to control how many scooter devices are in the city; or it could create a pilot program, which would allow the city to tweak the scooter-share business overtime and gather data. 

The city currently has four important bicycle regulations established in the municipal code that scooters would also have to follow. Bikes are not allowed to operate on sidewalks and cannot obstruct commercial sidewalks. Bikes are allowed on City path systems, but the Mill Creek Parkway has a speed limit of 15 MPH.

City Manager Carly Castle said she recommends an RFP which would then become a pilot program—this option would allow the city to have more control and create regulations as the program develops. Councilmembers discussed the danger of allowing the scooters on Main Street—bikes are street legal on Main, but scooters would present a danger with traffic both on the street and on the sidewalk. 

Moving forward, Lory said he will look into more regulation possibilities and present again at a later date.