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Tucson may try electric scooter rentals

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Posted at 6:33 AM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-05 14:21:34-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — They are a valuable new transportation tool or a dangerous nuisance. That's the range of opinion on electric scooters available for rent in a lot of cities around the U.S.

Tomorrow, Tucson City Council will consider whether to allow the scooters here.

Electric scooters may seem like a toy, but a lot of people use them as serious transportation.

But, in some cities, they've raced right into trouble with accidents and complaints about riders cluttering sidewalks when they end their rides drop the scooter and walk away.

Ward Three Councilmember Paul Durham thinks the scooters have strong potential to cut air pollution and says in Portland, Oregon scooters got a lot of people out of their cars.

"34% of Portland residents said it displaced car trip and it was the number was 45% for tourists," said Durham.

Presently, Durham's backing a plan to give scooters a six month tryout with restrictions and fines if companies allow scooters to clutter the sidewalks.

For shared two-wheeled transportation the city already has Tugo bike stations at 36 spots around town. But for Tugo bikes, the power is not electric; it comes from your own two legs.

The biggest difference between these and the scooters is that when you're done with a Tugo bike you must put it back on the slot. You can't just leave it laying around.

The U of A banned e-scooters on campus. Councilmember Steve Kozachik expects the heaviest scooter use in his Ward which covers downtown and 4th Avenue full of congested streets narrow sidewalks.

"It's safety. It's clutter. It's code enforcement. It's simply the danger of these things in the area that will most likely be where they wind up," said Councilmember Steve Kozachik of Ward 6.

Councilmember Durham says if someone leaves a scooter cluttering 4th Avenue they'll get a big bill because GPS software will sense the location and charge them as if they are still using the scooter.