Updated: Apr 9, 2020
In recent months, the San Marcos City Council has been reviewing staff recommendations to ban motorized e-scooters on all public streets, including both privately-owned and publicly-shared devices. The members of MoveSM have varying opinions on shared motorized e-scooter services that have popped up in US cities in the last couple of years - but we all agreed in our numerous discussions that an outright ban on options that support more sustainable and multimodal transportation would be a bad policy direction. Period.
MoveSM feels strongly that citizens who have invested in and responsibly use their own scooters today should absolutely not be prevented from using these to get around town and parking them on the streets while patronizing local establishments. We also discussed the gray area that exists around what are categorized as motorized e-scooters, including different standing and sitting models, and banning all or a few of them establishes a slippery slope for what distinguishes the different types from one another, including those used to assist with disabilities. Given this diverse emerging field of technology, as different types of car alternatives continue to be developed, an outright ban severely stunts or completely prevents the responsible development of a useful publicly shared option in the future.
As City Council considered a policy direction, MoveSM recommended that they steer away from a complete ban on scooters and instead utilize best practices being developed by cities across the US to establish acceptable motorized scooter use in the city. On Tuesday, April 7th, council received a presentation from staff about scooters and advised a complete ban on all scooters based on safety concerns. However, in a vote of 4 to 2, council directed staff to develop a policy that allows privately used motorized scooters in San Marcos, while continuing to prevent the deployment of a publicly shared scooter program. While we believe there are opportunities to create pilot projects in town for the use of a shared scooter program, MoveSM was grateful to at least see a majority of council support private scooter users and allow them to continue to be able to access the streets of our city.
After viewing the council worksession, MoveSM would also like to give a special shout out to Councilor Maxfield Baker for his leadership and support of sustainable alternative transportation and thank him in particular for calling out the skewed safety statistics that failed to note the number of scooter injuries caused by cars nor compare the relative number of scooter injuries with the thousands of life-altering injuries and deaths Americans suffer each year at the hands of automobiles and their drivers. According to 2020 reporting, approximately 29 scooter deaths have been noted worldwide since 2018, most of which were caused by collisions with cars; while in 2018 alone, there were more than 36,000 car deaths in just the US.
Check out City Council's discussion here (starting at the 1:06:30 mark):
Read MoveSM's full recommendation here:
For more on Texas roadway deaths:
If you support micromobility in San Marcos and want to get involved in supporting alternative transportation options in town, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll plug you in to the conversation!