Denver, CO

Denver plans crackdown on scooter riders

David Heitz
City and County of Denver

By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) If you ride rented scooters on Denver's sidewalks or illegally park them, prepare to get a ticket.

City Councilmember Chris Hinds has complained that scooter riders don't follow city rules for several months. Now, the city is looking into how to enforce laws already on the books.

That includes a ban on riding scooters on the sidewalk, a common occurrence in Denver. "What this comes down to is a Denver Police Department enforcement issue and we are in conversations with them about how to best enforce the existing ordinance as we speak," city planner Stephen Rijo wrote in response to an email from Hinds.

No riding on sidewalks

Rio said the city is working with the scooter operators on an educational campaign about riding safely and legally. For example, riders would have to click through specific instructions on the app before the scooter powers on. These instructions would include not riding on the sidewalk and not parking the scooter illegally. "No sidewalk riding" will be prominently printed on all the scooters.

As for parking, "Over the last year, we've iterated to create a robust parking management system fed by our enforcement agents tickets, 311 calls and PocketGov submissions," Rijo wrote to Hinds.

"We are focusing resources on hot spots in the data and are always open to suggestions or concerns you are hearing from your constituents. Letting folks know how to report improperly parked vehicles will be a key part of our messaging this summer."

Scooter parking restrictions
City and County of Denver

The city signed agreements in May 2021 with scooter operators Lime and Lyft. The city designated places where riders can drop the scooters off, including marked pavement boxes, signed parking corrals, racks and stations. The city offers complete directions about parking on its website. Parking "don'ts" include:

· No blocking sidewalks, curb ramps, wheelchair ramps, or bus stops.

· No blocking fire hydrants, call boxes, or other emergency facilities.

· Don't block driveways.

· Don't park inside transit facilities, on railroad tracks or crossings, or inside railroad rights-of-way.

· No parking in loading or freight zones.

· No parking garages.

· No parking in building or resident entryways.

Technology detects sidewalk surfers

In an email to several city staffers, Hinds said some scooter companies, including Lime, have technology that detects when riders use the sidewalk. But Rio said that while Lime may claim to have the technology, it only exists on paper.

"We've been following the technology conversations since the days of the pilot program with a specific eye on sidewalk riding detection since well before the licensed program was inked," he responded to Hinds.

"As folks suggested, the technology may exist on paper, but hasn't proven ready for primetime where it's been implemented, and we have calls scheduled with San Jose and San Francisco later this week to learn from our counterparts there."

Councilman Hinds polls constituents

In the meantime, Hinds is polling constituents about the scooters. He already has received hundreds of responses. "There are a lot of people who are very concerned about scooters," Hinds said during his Friday Facebook live chat, adding most people ride them "almost entirely on the sidewalk."

"Ninety-nine percent of the scooters I see are on city sidewalks and they're careening at full speed about our city center," Hinds said in November 2021, when he first described the problem.

Pedestrians often dart out of a scooter's way just in time after the operator rings the faint bell on the device.

The scooters also can be dangerous. From Jan. 1, 2021, to May 15, 2022, Denver Health treated 1,314 people for scooter injuries. While the vast majority of scooter injuries occurred on roadways, the statistic includes people who fell off scooters at grocery stores.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career in editing roles at community newspapers in Southern California and the Quad-Cities of Illinois and Iowa. Upon moving to Denver in 2018, I began experiencing severe mental illness due to several traumatic experiences. I became homeless on the street for about a year before spending time in the state mental hospital. I am proof that people can rebound from even severe mental illness with proper treatment. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver. I hope my writing reflects the passion I have for living in the Mile High City. You can email me news releases and story ideas at

Denver, CO

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