Residents can ride stand up electric scooters in Lake Havasu City, but they won’t be able to rent them any time in the foreseeable future.
Lake Havasu City Manager Jess Knudson said an electric stand up scooter sharing company that approached the city earlier this year about bringing its operation to Havasu has since decided not to move forward. Knudson said Bird, a company that operates scooter sharing programs in 50 U.S. cities including Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale and Tucson, first approached the city about potentially bringing its services to Havasu in January. That prompted the City Council to unanimously adopt an ordinance at its Feb. 24 meeting, establishing rules for how such a business could operate in town.
“It is important for us as a city to put policies in place, if they don’t already exist, that creates an open playing field for any operator – whether it is a scooter operator or any other desire that is out there,” Knudson said. “Shortly after that was put into place, (Bird) notified us several weeks later that they were no longer interested in Lake Havasu City.”
Knudson said the unusual layout of the city, the location where the scooters would be utilized, and how they would be used were all concerns for the city and its citizens.
“So we put together a program that would place certain restrictions on that operation,” he said. “It was restricted to a degree that it didn’t make sense for this particular operator.”
According to the February resolution that establishes the program, any stand up scooter sharing operator would have to start with a pilot program in the city with a limit of 75 scooters deployed in a predefined “pilot program area” that would be worked out with city staff and approved by the City Council. The regulations also limit the hours of operation and stipulate that the operator must pick up their scooters each night by 11 p.m. and cannot put them out until after 6 a.m.
The city’s requirements also spell out the types of areas scooters can and cannot be ridden in, how they need to be parked, and it makes the operator personally responsible for correcting any issues involving illegally parked or inoperable scooters within two hours of it being reported.
The city would also be paid $1,000 for an operator to start a pilot program in the city and Havasu would be paid an additional 10 cents per scooter ride.
An e-scooter sharing pilot program would last six months, or until the city adopts an ordinance to regular scooter sharing systems.
Knudson said Bird cited the regulations in general as its reason for not perusing a program in Lake Havasu City.
The ordinance establishing how an e-scooter pilot program would operate, though originally prompted by Bird’s inquiries, would apply to any business seeking to start a similar operation within the city limits. Knudson said it appears unlikely that a different operator would be interested in coming to Havasu with the current rules and regulations in place.