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Electric scooters could return to Lafayette

Posted at 10:19 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 23:24:01-04

Electric scooters could return to the streets of Lafayette after state lawmakers consider a bill regulating them.

In January, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux announced Bird and Lime scooters agreed to voluntarily leave the city, after complaints about the lack of laws.

To read previous stories, click here and here.

Senate Bill 91, authored by State Senator Page Cortez, would define an electric scooter and regulate where they can be used.

To read the bill, click here.

Now with the beautiful spring weather in Lafayette, some say there is just one thing missing.

“Downtown is fun. You’ve got places to eat, drink but as far as activities there’s kind of not a lot of options, so the scooters were a really good substitute for that,” said Clay Tucker who works at a bar downtown.

The proposed legislation could allow scooters to return to areas like Downtown Lafayette or UL’s campus, where the speed limit is below 25 miles per hour. The bill is still in the early stages of the review process, but as of now states they could be used on sidewalks, bike lanes or highways with that limit.

“Scooters that were found all throughout the city are not defined in state law and they’re not regulated so there was a possibility of a lot of liability,” said Sen. Cortez, who was asked by Mayor-President Robideaux to write the bill. “If they’re allowed to be used on the streets, they’re going to be subject to the laws that you have to follow on the streets, all state laws and all city ordinances.”

Some people are excited to potentially welcome the scooters back into the Hub City.

“I think they should definitely come back. I think they introduced a sense of play that I think the adults needed. And just the sustainable aspect of not using their cars as much,” said Chance Gabehart, who was strolling along Jefferson St.

While others are hoping stricter laws will address some of the issues they’ve seen.

“People did have fun on them and I want people to have fun but I thought it made the streets kind of trashy and it was kind of dangerous. People were running through the streets and I didn’t like how the street corners looked with just 15 scooters thrown on the ground,” said Logan Clothier who works at a skate shop downtown.

“One time I had somebody driving down the street directly at me, on the wrong side of the street,  that seemed pretty careless. And also there wasn’t much care about where they were placed, they were just strewn about,” said another person who was enjoying downtown, Joshua Savoie

“My biggest concern is really another form of pollution, finding them in canals, in the middle of the sidewalk. But as a form of transportation, recreation I think they were great,” said Lafayette resident, Lloyd Walker.

The bill will go through the Senate’s transportation committee Wednesday morning. It will then make its way through the Senate and the House.

Sen. Cortez says he expects several changes and additions to be made that will address things like where they can be parked, fines for violations and penalties for reckless driving.