Boot the scoot boogie Dripping Springs bans electric scooters

Motor assisted scooters, such those seen around downtown Austin, are no longer welcome in Dripping Springs, following approval of an ordinance March 12 banning their use. 

Dripping Springs becomes the first city in Hays County to outright ban the scooters from public roadways. It’s an issue that many cities across Hays County are now starting to tackle. The Dripping Springs City Council passed the ordinance by a unanimous 4-0 vote.

Dripping Springs’ ordinance bans the use of motor-assisted scooters on public right-of-ways and sidewalks within the city. Moves toward the ordinance came after two motorized scooters mysteriously showed up on Mercer Street in recent weeks.

The two scooters that appeared on Mercer Street were picked up by the company that owns them, but neither confirmed how they appeared in Dripping Springs.

“We’re not going to wait for an accident to happen,” Mayor Todd Purcell said in a statement. “We want to prevent it. These regulations ensure we are taking the necessary steps to protect our citizens and visitors.”

According to an affidavit, council member John Kroll recused himself from the vote because his consulting firm, HMWK LLC., provides substantial services for Bird, one of the largest motor-assisted scooter companies in Austin and across the nation.

The ordinance also bans parking the scooters on any sidewalk, public property, public park, public street or highway. Violators of the ordinance could face a fine, but it is unclear at this time how much that would be. 

Currently, Wimberley and Kyle do not have ordinances addressing motor-assisted scooters; San Marcos and Buda are looking into the topic. Kristy Stark, San Marcos communications director, said city leaders will receive a presentation on motorized scooters in the near future.

“We currently do not have an ordinance banning them or allowing them within the city limits; therefore, since no ordinance is in place to allow scooters, we have let the scooter companies know that bringing them into San Marcos will result in immediate confiscation,” Stark said.

However, San Marcos has partnered with Texas State University to bring Veloride, a company that specializes in ride-sharing with bikes, to the city. The bikes have become a popular mode of transportation for university students and residents of the downtown district, but scooters are not currently present in the city.

A Buda city official confirmed that the city is investigating the prospect of motor-assisted scooters in town.

Wimberley does not have any ordinances allowing or disallowing the scooters.

Kyle, however, could be taking up the topic of motor-assisted scooters soon.

Jerry Hendrix, Kyle chief of staff, said they have a person “interested in bringing scooters to Kyle.” Hendrix said that meeting should happen in two weeks, with city staff possibly crafting an ordinance to take to city council soon after.

Hendrix said Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett has not received any reported incidents related to motorized scooters. The city will look to distinguish between privately-owned scooters and those rented out to the public.

“The number one concern for the city would be safety,” Hendrix said. “We’d need to identify what roads can accommodate these scooters and which ones cannot. It’s on our radar, but not a problem at this point.”

Dripping Springs’ new ordinance follows a trend seen in cities outside of Hays County. In early February, Fredericksburg city leaders passed an ordinance banning electric scooters in town. 

“These scooters aren’t safe here in Dripping Springs,” said Dripping Springs City Administrator Michelle Fischer. “We don’t have a lot of public sidewalks or large bike-able areas, so they just don’t fit well in our community.”

The ordinance will go into effect after it is published March 21 in the city’s paper of record. The ordinance will also be posted on the city’s website.

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