FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — After more than an hour of discussion, Fort Wayne City Council voted against creating rules for police to enforce scooters in the city.
“The scooters are dangerous and the way they are left throughout downtown makes downtown look junkie,” said District 2 City Councilman Russ Jehl. “I’m not a fan. This resolution was going to restrict them and by council not voting for it we leave the public open to the scooters continuing to be a nuisance.”
In the City of Fort Wayne, there are no rules for police to enforce scooters in the city. The ordinance discussed Tuesday night would have changed that. However, in a 2 to 7 vote council voted against the ordinance.
One of the measures proposed in the ordinance would have limited the age of riders to be 18-years-old or older. Another would have given the Fort Wayne Police Department the ability to issue fines from $50 to $200 dollars for riders not following the ordinance.
During the discussion which lasted over an hour, several councilmembers said they were worried about the safety of both riders of the scooters and drivers of Fort Wayne. Councilmembers say they have also received about riders on scooters weaving in and out of traffic.
But the biggest issue from the council was how to enforce the ordinance and lowering the age of riders.
Members of the Fort Wayne Police Department also expressed concerns that the department has received complaints of scooters being ridden by children as young as 7 and 8-years-old unsupervised. Due to the lack of an ordinance or rules, FWPD has been unable to enforce anything.
Since September of 2019, VeoRide’s has offered rentable electric scooters. Currently, the company has more than 500 scooters in Fort Wayne and since the additional start date, the scooters have seen more than 305,000 rides.
VeoRide’s officials told WANE 15 that its policies do not allow anyone under the age of 18 to ride. Officials went on to say that whatever council decides in the future they are willing to work with the city.
“Our biggest push rider education amongst the city whether it be here, or Atlanta or Seattle we want to make sure that everyone understands that we as a company have an 18-year-old policy when you ride our vehicles,” said Ben Thomas, Regional General Manager. “If you are under age you take on the responsibility for that.”
A new ordinance with amended rules can come up again to the council this year. However, the exact ordinance voted on Tuesday night can not. Over the next few months, city, FWPD and VeoRide officials will work together to talk about changes that could be made to the ordinance.
The trial period for the scooters is set to end at the end of 2021.