Original Post: Jan. 14, 3:15 P.M.:
On Tuesday, Jan. 15, the Boise City Council will hear from city staff who say they've been working closely with Bird and Lime on how the fruits of their deal with the city are growing.
"Things have gone really, really well," said city spokesman Mike Journee. "There was a lot of homework that was done early on. The folks in the clerk's office did a great job understanding what best practices have been around the country and the challenges other cities have seen with scooters and e-bikes coming in; and they put together a program where we work closely with the vendors and residents. It seems to have worked really well."
Bird and Lime rolled out their e-scooters in October 2018. That was after the City of Meridian introduced—then quickly removed—the devices within a week after several were impounded by the Ada County Highway District. In the meantime, the City of Boise approved its own set of ordinances that it believed would create "sideboards" for e-scooters, requiring them to comply with existing local laws while providing an alternative transportation service to the public, including a limit on the number of e-scooter companies operating in Boise, and limiting the number of devices they can release on city streets.
The ordinances have been largely successful, according to city officials, but there have been literal bumps in the road: In November 2018, Boise Police received its first e-scooter-related police report after a man dressed in a dinosaur costume fell off one of the devices while riding it in violation of the terms of service, injuring a pedestrian. Beyond that, however, Journee said there have been few enforcement incidents of note involving e-scooters.
The tone of the update to the city council, presented by Department of Finance and Administration Director Craig Croner and Planning and Development Services Director Daren Fluke, will be that of a regularly scheduled check-up, where city staff will brief the council on the health of rules already put into place for these emerging transportation technologies. Included will be discussion of the pros and cons of increasing the number of e-devices allowed in the city and the number of vendors, in addition to police actions and concerns raised by members of the public.
Journee also said a third vendor has submitted an application to introduce its e-scooters in the City of Trees. If that company decides to deploy the maximum number of devices—250—the city will have reached its total device maximum of 730 e-scooters.
Fluke, who will oversee the e-bike segment of the 20-minute presentation, said there have been approximately half a dozen complaints received by the city regarding e-bikes. In 2018, the City Department of Parks & Recreation announced it had drafted new rules prohibiting e-bikes in the Boise Foothills without written permission from Parks & Rec; Fluke said there have been no complaints about the bikes on the trails skirting the northern edge of the city, and just a handful of complaints about them on the Greenbelt.
"So far, so good. We were primarily concerned with conflicts on the sidewalks and to some extent the Greenbelt, and that gets down to reckless speed and operation," Fluke said. "I don't think we're seeing that."