Hundreds of electric scooters have been zooming around Colorado Springs for the past six months, and they might be here for the long haul.
This is the first summer the city will have e-scooters available to rent after they were locally launched as part of a one-year trial in October 2021. The companies Veo and Lime each have 300 scooters in some of Colorado Springs’ busier hubs, including Old Colorado City and the downtown area.
Since last year, there have been around 80,000 e-scooter trips in Colorado Springs, with usage peaking on weekends and in early afternoons, according to Todd Frisbie, city traffic engineer.
E-scooters can be rented through the Veo or Lime apps; both companies charge $1 to unlock a scooter and 29 cents per minute during ride time. Each e-scooter has speed restrictions, with a top speed of 15 mph, and a bell for warnings. Helmets are not required, but encouraged for riders.
The city is optimistic about the pilot program up to now. “We’ve been pleased with how it’s gone so far and that the scooter companies have worked well with the city,” Frisbie said.
Both Veo and Lime have recently made requests for additional stations, which the city is in the process of reviewing. Frisbie said the companies would likely add more scooters to fill the new stations, if approved, and each company is permitted up to 600 scooters each — double the current fleet.
There have been discussions about adding stations to a new area in southeast Colorado Springs, but nothing has been made official, Frisbie said.
Councilmember Bill Murray has expressed opposition to the e-scooters since they were proposed. “Still am not convinced this mobility device is in the best interests of our communities,” he wrote in an email to The Gazette.
“You cannot hear them, they are left all over the sidewalks and people ride them on the sidewalks. We need a better period of time to assess their success here,” Murray said.
The one-year trial period will end in October, at which time the city will determine if the scooter rentals will continue permanently.
Frisbie said the city has received complaints from the public about the e-scooters, mainly related to parking. “At the beginning of the program when the program was new there were more complaints but they have tapered off over time,” he said.
In the downtown core, there are forced parking zones where scooters must be parked to leave room on sidewalks for pedestrian traffic. Outside of the busier hubs, scooters can be parked anywhere.
The forced parking zones are somewhat unique to Colorado Springs, according to Frisbee. It helps to prevent disorganized scooter parking, which was seen when e-scooters were first introduced in Denver without warning or regulations in 2018.
Some restricted ride areas include the Colorado College and UCCS campuses, and sidewalks with heavy pedestrian traffic.
When e-scooters are parked outside of the hubs, the company will eventually move them back to a station if no one else rides them.
“Scooter companies have worked well with us in addressing parking issues as they come up,” Frisbie said. The companies are notified about parking violations and have two hours to resolve them.
Veo and Lime were picked last year as the city’s scooter companies after a “robust” selection process, and they are not pursuing others at this time.
E-scooters are mostly used in the Cascade Avenue corridor between Colorado College and Cimarron Street, and the Colorado Avenue corridor from the South Seventh Street to 31st Street.
While there are docking stations downtown and in Old Colorado City, the operating boundaries are more expansive so riders can take scooters around “most of the city.”
A law passed in April by the Colorado Legislature mandates e-scooter riders must adhere to the “Safety Stop” by yielding at stop signs and only proceeding through red lights after stopping and yielding to pedestrians and immediate oncoming traffic.