As Indianapolis welcomes September, it also welcomes a return of the popular Lime and Bird scooters. Indianapolis was wild about them in their earlier test run; in fact, as noted in a recent IBJ story, Bird’s application with the city seeking permission to operate the scooters here said Indianapolis had some of the highest ridership rates they’d seen. There are some people who aren’t so wild about the scooters, though: people with disabilities.
The innovative thing about the scooters is that you don’t have to return them to a set location when you’re done; you can park them wherever. However, when people leave the scooters wherever, that often means obstructing the sidewalk, blocking a wheelchair ramp or otherwise making it more dangerous for pedestrian traffic.
People who are blind or who have low vision may not be able to navigate around scooters. People using wheelchairs or mobility devices need enough clearance that they don’t knock a scooter over or injure themselves. And deaf people or people who are hard of hearing may not be forewarned if someone is scooting up behind them, potentially causing injury.
The Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities wants to encourage people to enjoy the scooters; have fun with them! New regulations with the scooters say you can’t ride on sidewalks or trails, must wear a helmet, only put one user on a device and park them leaving at least four feet of unobstructed space. This is great but needs your help to actually happen.
Please remember that every “wherever” is someone else’s “where they need to be,” and plan accordingly. Park your scooter considerately, move scooters that are in the way and be a good citizen. Everyone will benefit.
Executive director,Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities