Louisiana bill could bring electric scooters to SWLA

KPLC 7News Nightcast 10-10:30 p.m.- April 11, 2019- E-Scooters

LOUISIANA (KPLC) - A Louisiana bill could bring electric scooters to Louisiana’s streets and sidewalks.

LA SB91, would “allow electric low-speed scooters to operate on sidewalks, bicycle paths, and highways with posted speed limits of twenty-five miles per hour or less, except that the department and any parish or municipal governing authority may limit or prohibit the operation of such scooters on any sidewalk, bicycle path, or highway under its jurisdiction if such prohibition or regulation is in the interest of safety.”

“Scooters are going to be a really bad idea," Austin Lovejoy, said. “I don’t think the traffic would handle it.”

While some think these scooters wouldn’t work in Lake Charles, others believe it would be beneficial to our growing city. Madeline Smith, a student at McNeese State University, said the scooters could attract a younger crowd.

“I think it would be a really good idea, just to add something new to Louisiana and Lake Charles because there’s not much for us to really do," Smith said.

The e-scooters are popping up in major cities across the country like Austin and Dallas. One out-of-town visitor, Amy Wood, said they’re a big part of downtown culture in Kansas City.

“It brings so much life and bring so much enjoyment to downtown because it’s better than walking, and it’s better than driving, you’re having fun. I think it would be a great benefit," Wood said.

The proposed law would require e-scooters to have a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour and travel on public streets with a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. Those riders who are 17-years-old and younger will be required to wear a helmet.

“If it can go up to 25 mph, I just don’t see why we wouldn’t have helmets all the way around," Commander James McGee with the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office, said. “Of course there needs to be education for the persons out there who are going to utilize scooters. They need to be well-educated on what the laws are, what the restrictions are, what they’re expected to do. Then, I don’t see how it would be a problem if they choose to pass it.”

McGee said he hopes if the scooters come to the Lake Area, riders follow the rules of the road.

John O’Donnell with the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center said if they’re implemented in the area, the scooters could serve a greater purpose than another trendy way to get around.

“There’s obviously gaps in our public transportation system. You can’t ride the bus everywhere. So, getting from the bus stop to your destination is that first and last mile and these electric scooters and bike shares could really help do that and take a lot of the burden off of the taxpayer when we;re talking about public transit," O’Donnell said.

If the law is passed, it would take effect August 1.

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