Photos by Zach Bauman
A quick zip on an electric scooter is a fun way to get to around town, and hundreds of people in Kansas City are choosing two wheels over four every day. This means traffic is lighter and slower, people are more active, and we’re all getting our daily vitamin D! But with the great power of that little motor comes the great responsibility to follow the rules of the road.
Kansas City, Missouri ordinance requires motorized vehicles (including e-scooters) to be operated on the street (NOT the sidewalk). Ordinance 70-253 states “No person shall drive any vehicle other than by human power upon a sidewalk, sidewalk area, park or public property, except upon a permanent or duly authorized temporary driveway.” This rule protects pedestrians (including people using wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers) moving at walking speeds from vehicles capable of at least 15 miles per hour. It also makes people on scooters more visible to people driving cars. If a scooterist crosses an intersection on the sidewalk, a driver may have difficulty seeing them through cars parked in the street.
YOU can advocate for safer streets!
Many people who scoot ride on the sidewalk because they fear being hit by a person driving a car if they ride in the street. This is a legitimate concern, and one that must be addressed through action by city leadership and by road users.
* The City of Kansas City Missouri encourages people to ride scooters in bike lanes where they exist. As the city continues to build bike lanes and apply the Complete Streets ordinance to redeveloped roads, we expect that streets will become safer for all users.
* Drivers should allow bicyclists and scooterists plenty of room and only pass on the left and when they can safely give the more vulnerable road user at least 3 feet of space. Put down your phone. Remember that you are operating a vehicle that can severely injure or kill someone in a collision.
* Bicyclists and scooterists should behave predictably. Ride safely in a straight line to the right side of the road unless it is necessary to take the lane. Stop at stop signs and traffic signals, use turn signals, and don’t weave in and out of cars parked on the street.
And we have good news: YOU can make active transportation easier and safer here in KCMO (the only city in which we currently have an operating agreement)!
* Learn more about the pending KCMO Bike Master Plan and how it can make streets safer throughout the city.
* Sign up to join BikeWalkKC’s growing list of voices in support of the Bike Master Plan.
* Share your story if you feel unsafe on city streets or if you or your loved ones have experienced harassment or injury while scooting/walking/biking.
* Attend the next KCMO City Budget Hearing on August 15. Infrastructure costs money, and city leaders need to know that safe streets are important to you.
* Stay tuned for Confident City Scootering workshops coming up. Get real life practice in a safe and controlled environment before we head out for a group scoot. Dates coming soon!
Shared micro-mobility devices like electric scooters and bikes are introducing hundreds of people to the joys of life outside a car, and we couldn’t be more delighted to be a part of this “movement.” Let’s take it to the next level and make our streets and sidewalks safer for everyone!
Click here to learn more about RideKC Bikes and RideKC Scooters. Daily, monthly, and annual memberships are available.