The other night I was walking around Downtown Grand Rapids with my friend. We walked along the Riverwalk, swatting at bugs; It was a lovely summer evening. However, as we were walking along the Pearl St. Bridge, we were nearly forced into the road by a group of riders on the scooters hogging the entire sidewalk.

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Now, I am not one to complain about a lot of things. But, this is my largest pet peeve. I do not think people should ride the scooters on sidewalks, and as it turns out, it is actually illegal to ride them on the sidewalks. 

 

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Safe Riding For Everyone

There are numerous reasons why riding a scooter on the sidewalk can be dangerous. People may not be aware of someone zipping past you on a scooter, or due to the limited space on the sidewalks, things quickly become cramped as the sidewalks are full of people walking, putting both pedestrians and riders at risk of crashing.

 

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The City of Grand Rapids has released its guidelines for scooter usage and elaborated in an interview with WOOD-TV. So, next time you ride a scooter downtown, make sure to do the following:

  • Use the entire lane while riding on the road.
    • It is important to make your presence known so that others around you can make room for you. Scooter/Bike riders have the same Rules of the Road the drivers do, and are to be treated like another vehicle on the road.
  • Take advantage of the bike lanes.
    • Bike lanes are currently a bit of a gray area for the Michigan legal system. Michigan Vehicle Code doesn't prohibit electric scooters from being in bike lanes.
    • Grand Rapids has deemed it legal to use the bike lanes. Local laws may differ since Uniform Traffic Codes state “A person shall not operate a vehicle on or across a bicycle lane", but since electric scooters can be considered vehicles it is up to local law enforcement to determine if it should be legal or not.

 

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  • When using a scooter on a sidewalk, walk the scooter instead of riding it.
    • This is to avoid hitting an unsuspecting person as they walk out of a shop or restaurant.
  • Sidewalk Riders must "give an audible alert when passing."
    • This is the best way to make pedestrians aware you're coming.

Following these simple tips will keep everyone safer while Downtown.

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