New Salt Lake City campaign reminds scooter riders to stay off the sidewalk

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City mayor Jackie Biskupski painted a sidewalk stencil, as Salt Lake City launches a new campaign with e-scooter companies Lime and Bird in an effort to help residents and visitors understand the rules of the sidewalk, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018.

Salt Lake City launched a new campaign Wednesday with the dockless e-scooter companies Lime and Bird in an effort to help residents and visitors understand the rules of the sidewalk.

Jon Larsen, the city’s transportation director, told the Transportation Advisory Committee at its meeting last month that sidewalk ridership remains “by far the biggest concern” with the new technology.

The “Walk Your Wheels” safety campaign looks to mitigate that issue, encouraging scooter riders and cyclists to avoid riding on sidewalks, particularly downtown, and to instead use the existing bike lanes.

“Scooters are a new part of our city’s streetscape, and as with anything, there is a need for some education to keep everyone moving safely,” Mayor Jackie Biskupski said in a news release. “The exciting thing about this new technology is that it has the power to help clear our air by bridging the first mile-last mile gap, which keeps many from utilizing the city’s transit network.”

The city also plans to spray-paint a “Walk Your Wheels” message on some sidewalks and to add an image of a scooter to the bike lanes.

The campaign comes just weeks after a Salt Lake City emergency room reported a 160 percent spike in scooter-related injuries compared to last year, according to The Washington Post.

City officials have been working to create an ordinance regulating the scooters since Bird launched at the end of June and Lime dropped its scooters on city streets in July.

In the meantime, the companies have signed a temporary operating agreement that limits dockless transportation providers from placing more than 500 scooters in the city’s boundaries. It requires companies to share aggregate data about how many people are riding and puts limits on where scooters can be left (they can’t be dropped in driveways, on private property or on sidewalks).

The city has also set up an email address to field questions, comments and suggestions about the agreement and the new scooters at dockless@slcgov.com.