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Council to discuss future of e-scooters

NEW ULM — The future of motorized scooters will be discussed by the New Ulm City Council, Tuesday.

A micromobility vehicle sharing operation license agreement will come before the city council. Micromobility vehicles include bicycles, electric-assisted bicycles, motorized foot scooters and other transport devices identified by the city.

Recently, a business called Bird considered expanding a motorized foot scooter rental business to New Ulm. The company would have a fleet of 50 motorized scooters for renting out.

In addition to reviewing a license agreement with the company, the city is looking to adopt a new ordinance for micromobility vehicles. This ordinance would set the parameters of having micromobility operators in town and also determine where these vehicles can be used.

The council already held the first reading for the micromobility ordinance during the April 20 city council meeting.

The Park and Recreation Commission was also asked to review the ordinance and make a recommendation on where micromobility could be used.

During the April 29 Parks and Rec meeting, the commission unanimously recommended the micromobility ordinance. The commission also unanimously recommended restricting the use of these vehicles on sidewalks but recommended allowing the e-scooters on the bike trail. This recommendation was approved 6-1 and carried the requirement the scooters be capped to a speed of 12 mph.

The commission believed many using the motorized scooter rental service would want to ride on the trail. The commission’s top concern was safety. It was believed these scooters could travel the paved bicycle path safely if a speed restriction was in place.

This recommendation and second reading of the micromobility ordinance will come before the council before authorizing the licensing agreement with Bird.

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