Fort Collins, CSU prepares for electric scooters

Julia Trowbridge

A new type of transportation might be coming to Fort Collins.

With the growing popularity of electric scooters, the City of Fort Collins and Colorado State University are currently working on regulations for electric scooter use in order to avoid issues other cities and campuses have had with them. 

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The process of creating regulations for this is still in its preliminary stage, said Amanda Mansfield, a transportation planner with FC Moves, a part of Fort Collins’ transportation planning department.

The department plans to present the code change updates to City Council on Feb. 19 and March 5, with an expectation to launch the changes to the code in the spring or summer of 2019.

“We’re putting together the regulations we need… so that we’re prepared to have a partnership with them similar to the bike share partnership, which means it’s an ongoing, involved partnership and we’re very invested in how this unfolds,” Mansfield said. 

Currently, the City of Fort Collins is looking at what other cities have done to regulate the usage of electric scooters, Mansfield said. Some of the options they are looking at include scooter companies conducting outreach education on how to properly use the scooters and agreements on where they can be parked and operated.

“FC Moves is dedicated to promoting alternative, sustainable modes of transportation and we think of E-scooters as a good opportunity to expand the suite of alternative transportation options,” Mansfield said. “We think of it as something that could compliment bike share and compliment transit.”

Currently, under Colorado law, the use of electric scooters is prohibited on the streets.

CSU and Fort Collins plan to work together on the scooter regulations said Aaron Fodge, CSU’s alternative transportation manager. Additionally, Fodge said, a press release detailing how the two plan to work together with the electric scooter regulations will be published next week.

“I think for the most part things will be fairly similar,” Fodge said. “We have a dismount zone and I know the City also has a dismount zone … (which) would be extended to e-scooters as well. We want to make sure everyone’s safe.”

Fodge said Colorado law prohibits electric scooters from street use.

Multiple scooter companies have expressed interest in coming to Fort Collins and CSU, Fodge said. Although Fodge did not state which specific ones had reached out, prominent companies in the industry like Bird and Lime are a couple of examples of scooter company options interested in the city.

Jordan Blakesley, who works public relations with Lime, said the company is “eager to provide new mobility options in Fort Collins in the near future.”

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Bird government communications spokesperson  Mackenzie Long expressed similar sentiments. 

“Bird has no expansion plans to announce at this time, but we believe Fort Collins would be a great place to provide our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option,” Long said. “We hope to collaborate with city officials there in the future.”

Fodge said CSU students have indirectly expressed interest in the possibility of electric scooters coming to campus as well. In addition, some students have asked Parking and Transportation services if they can ride their personal electric scooters.

“We’ve seen privately owned scooters already on campus, there’s probably a handful that are already here,” Fodge said. “I would say, anecdotally there are interested students. But the reality is, nationwide, they’re very popular, so I think it’s not too far of a stretch to think that students are a part of that.”

Julia Trowbridge can be reached at news@collegian.com or on twitter @chapin_jules.