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Age Requirement, One-Rider Limit Among Changes Council Weighing for Tulsa Scooter Regulations

Matt Trotter

Tulsa is updating its ordinances dealing with motorized scooters, and the changes could go into effect before the end of the month.

The changes people will notice: Riders must be 16, only one rider on a scooter at a time, and scooters cannot be ridden on downtown, Brookside or Cherry Street sidewalks.

There are around 800 scooters in the city. Chief of Community Development and Policy Nick Doctor said the city took time to look at their use before pursuing the changes.

"We are now nine months into having scooters in Tulsa and have seen a great deal of use with more than 430,000 different rides being taken," Doctor said.

Those rides were taken by more than 124,000 people and totaled more than 500,000 miles.

The other proposed changes, people may not notice. License fees the companies pay can go toward scooter use education campaigns by the city — including posting signs — and scooter riders are subject to traffic signals and police enforcement.

"I’m especially excited about moving the funds so that we can do the education program to let people know this is how you should use a scooter, this is how you should watch out for a scooter, scooters are like bicycles in this way and different in this way," said Councilor Kara Joy McKee. "I think it will really help us overall in utilizing this technology but better."

The city collects a license fee of $50 per scooter or shared bicycle. The fees currently go toward fixing damage caused by the shared transportation and capital costs of implementing the city's bicycle and pedestrian master plan.

The changes would apply not only to the scooters rented through a mobile app, but also to rented bicycles and electric bikes.

There could be some tweaks to the proposed changes before a council vote on them as soon as next week. Councilor Phil Lakin pointed out the definition for the Brookside area would push scooters into the street where the speed limit is still above 25 miles per hour.

Councilors Connie Dodson and Crista Patrick said the age requirement should be adjusted, since a 14-year-old can get a motorcycle license in Oklahoma.