SALT LAKE CITY — A third electric scooter company has launched in Salt Lake City, bringing the total max number of machines to 1500 on city streets.
Head to the streets in Salt Lake City and you will see a new addition to the electric scooter world.
Bright orange ‘Spin’ scooters will now be joining the white ‘Birds’ which launched last June, and the green ‘Limes’ that came soon after.
Each company is allowed to have up to 500 scooters, meaning if you add it all up, you could now be seeing upwards of 1,500 scooters on city streets.
“I think we’re getting close to the saturation point,” said Salt Lake City Transportation Director Jon Larsen.
The thing is, this most recent company, may not be the last.
“Right now anyone who’s interested during the pilot period, they can launch,” Larsen said.
The city said right now, each company is operating under a temporary agreement as part of a pilot period for the e-scooters — that temporary agreement doesn’t put a limit on how many companies can launch.
“We’ve probably heard from about ten scooter companies since last summer,” said Larsen. “There have been one or two other companies that have also gotten business licenses.”
The scooters have zoomed into Salt Lake alongside a slew of compliments and complaints.
Among the most common issues — users operating scooters at high speeds on sidewalks instead of bike lanes, and leaving them littered around the city to block thoroughfares and sidewalks, or on private property.
While all users agree to a set of regulations from each prospective company before they can start their ride (like not exceeding 15 miles per hour, staying off sidewalks and proving appropriate parking with a photo), but without any ordinances in place, actual enforcement of the rules has been seemingly non-existent during the ongoing pilot phase.
The city is working to draft a permanent ordinance that would address the frustrations that have coincided with scooter mania, providing a clear set of expectations and a system for enforcement.
“I think [an ordinance] would give us the chance to really tighten down the regulations on where to launch, where to ride,” Larsen said. “Having designated parking areas, once you have an ordinance in place, then we can actually have a fee structure in place.”
The goal would be to scale back to just two companies, with a flexible amount of scooters, according to the city.
“If [the scooter companies] can prove to us that they’re getting a lot of utilization, then maybe we would allow more, but if they’re not getting a lot of utilization then we would lower their cap,” Larsen said.
However, bringing that ordinance to fruition is a lengthy process. The city said a draft is not expected to be complete until late summer or fall.
“Right now we really want to understand what all of the issues are so that by the time we’re moving with long term plans we really know what we’re doing,” said Larsen.
The city is currently looking for feedback on issues people are having or things they are liking about the scooters.
Until an ordinance can be enacted they ask that residents, “Hang with us,” Larsen said.
OGDEN, Utah — Ogden emergency rooms are already treating injured electric scooter riders less than a week since the devices rolled into Ogden.
Nathan Westmoreland was among the first to hop on when electric scooters launched in Ogden.
“I was having fun riding around,” Westmoreland said.
Dressed up as the Easter Bunny, several strangers recorded him downtown.
“[It] sounded like this could go good,” Westmoreland said.
The fun came crashing down Monday when Westmoreland severely injured his right ankle.
“At first I didn’t think anything was wrong until I tried putting weight on it and I could flop it around. I was like, ‘Oh, go get my car. I think I just broke my ankle,’” he said.
The 19-year-old underwent surgery to get a metal plate and two screws put into his ankle. He’s off scooters – and everything else – for at least two and a half months.
“I feel kinda dumb about it,” Westmoreland said.
Lime launched 300 new scooters in Ogden on Friday. Ogden is the second site for the company in Utah. The popular scooters are found on nearly every downtown corner.
“I got it, literally, because we stopped here to eat lunch and I didn’t want to walk back to the truck in the parking lot behind,” Daniel Rasmussen said.
In the days since the launch, several people witnessed riders exhibiting risky behavior.
“Some people don’t know their limitations or maybe try to get too rowdy,” Rasmussen said.
Torn ligaments and broken bones won’t stop Westmoreland, however. He’s vowed to get back on when he’s healed.
“You gotta keep in mind the dangers that’s with it.”
By deadline, Ogden Police didn’t return FOX 13’s repeated requests for information on how many people had been hurt while riding an e-scooter.
BRISBANE, Australia – Not your everyday electric scooter feature: a built-in voice-over that blurts out sexually charged and otherwise objectionable remarks.
Gizmodo reports that’s what some riders apparently got in Brisbane, Australia, where at least eight scooters from the transportation rental company Lime have already been yanked from circulation after someone hacked into the scooters’ audio files and inserted their own comments. One videothat’s going around shows a bunch of the scooters lined up in the street, all shouting out their new hacked messages; one that can be heard above the din tells anyone within earshot: “Don’t take me around, because I don’t like to be ridden.”
Another one of the offending scooters, shown on its own in a different video, can more clearly be heard saying, “OK, but if you’re going to ride my a–, then please pull my hair, OK?”
In a statement, Lime addresses the “vandals” who inserted the “inappropriate and offensive” remarks, saying “it’s not smart, it’s not funny, and is akin to changing a ring tone.”
Per the Washington Post, the company notes that whoever pulled off the profane prank would have to be deep in the know about the scooter’s software and design, which not many people in the world are. Although the audio file hack is a new issue, Lime has been plagued with other problems over the past year, including catching fire, breaking apart during normal rides, and experiencing “sudden excessive braking.”
Warning: Video contains offensive statements and profanity
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