Many people think it is safer to ride on the sidewalk and don’t know that they shouldn’t be doing so.

Dear Rochester, MN Lime Scootians - I love you, I want you to use the scooters, I think they're a great idea. Also, I think you should follow the rules. In the name of all that's holy, please stay off the sidewalks.

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These are limes, NOT Lime Scooters. Limes are perfectly legal to ride on the sidewalk. Rabe/Canva
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Is Staying Off the Sidewalks A Rule or Something?

Believe it or not, yes. 100%.

The scooters and e-bikes are treated the same as regular bicycles under the city ordinances which means they must be operated in a bike or traffic lane and are prohibited from being used on sidewalks. To address complaints of riding on sidewalks, Lime instituted "sidewalk riding detection" technology in 2020. No word on how that worked. Read More: Even More Lime Scooters Will Be On Rochester Streets This Spring

In February of this year, the Rochester City Council said yes to two more years of the e-transport devices, boosting the number permitted.

  • Old Days - 205 Scooters. Nowadays - 300 Scooters.
  • Old Days - 18 e-Bikes. Nowadays - 50 eBikes.

More scooters and bikes mean the no sidewalks rule is even more important. 

So, let's have a little argument about it.

Hal - Bikes and scooters don't belong on sidewalks, it's dangerous!

Penny - Don't be afraid of new stuff.

Hal - I'm not afraid of new stuff, I'm afraid of bikes and scooters running me down on sidewalks.

Penny - See, I told you you were scared.

Hal - Gah! Get off the sidewalks you bike and scooter riding danger beasts!

That's an argument I've seen played out on social media a ton. Sometimes it's Penny that wants 'em off the sidewalks, and it's Hal that completely ignores the point and argues something entirely different.

People can love the idea of new technology AND be highly annoyed people are riding on the sidewalks. Why ignore their valid concerns?

Is the City Enforcing the Stay Off the Sidewalks Rule?

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moodboard ThinkStock
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That's a fair question, so I asked Captain Casey Moilanen, from the Rochester Police Department. Since 2021, the RPD has issued no citations, though they've been called to enforce the no scooters, e-bikes, bikes, etc. on sidewalks regulation 35 times.

Shouldn't people be cited every time they're caught? A lot of people would say yes but in my opinion? No. When something is new, like parking rules, etc, law enforcement is usually more effective when they do not stomp down hard.

"As you know Lime scooters/e-bikes are fairly new to the city of Rochester. As such, our approach in responding to these incidents is to first educate and warn people that they should be riding in the bike lanes and not on the sidewalks.

Many people think it is safer to ride on the sidewalk and don’t know that they shouldn’t be doing so. If those that have been warned and educated continue to violate the law then they may receive a citation." Captain Casey Moilanen April 14, 2022

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Business owners in the Lime Zone have spoken plenty on social media about their concerns. Natalie Victoria, with Victoria's and The Tap House downtown, says, "I get why they're popular, I just feel Downtown is the wrong place for them."

We're a city proud to host Mayo Clinic. With that comes responsibilities, including doing our level best to make sure people in town for The Clinic can walk around safely.

But the Street Is Dangerous, Man!

True.  I think you shouldn't be riding the scooters if the only way you feel safe is riding on the sidewalks (which makes the sidewalks unsafe for pedestrians). Try the same exercise for cars and you'll see what I mean.

OK, that's all. Have a great day and as my grandpappy Goofus Rabe used to say, "If you can't ride scooters according to the rules you agree to, then consarnit, knock off the Lime Scootering."

Also, this is how they park 'em in London.

E-Scooter Pilot Program Launches In London
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As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know: james.rabe@townsquaremedia.com

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