If you’re in Austin and ride a scooter, bicycle, or skateboard—be wary of the city’s upcoming hefty fines.
Austin City Council is set to enact new restrictions on what they call “micro-mobility devices,” also known as electric scooters, bicycles, skateboards, and other “compact devices.” The proposed law has a list of new rules for Austin riders, from requiring them to travel in the same direction as traffic to prohibiting them from using mobile devices while driving.
One rule, however, particularly stands out: “A rider shall ride in a reasonable and prudent manner.”
According to the city council, “Riders shall operate on sidewalks at a reasonable and prudent speed,” but they don’t specifically describe what that actually means.
Regardless of the ambiguity, Austinites could face hefty fines if they violate the rule.
If the city deems you are not traveling at a “reasonable” or “prudent” speed, you could be ticketed $40 for the first offense and $80 for every offense afterward.
On top of that, the council’s newly proposed law wouldn’t just apply to rental scooters and bikes—it would apply to your own personal “micro-mobility devices” as well.
That means any Austinite renting a scooter or taking their own bike out for a ride should be wary of riding at a speed the city may deem unreasonable or imprudent. You could return home with a nearly $100 fine.
The restrictions and penalties come in the wake of Austin’s popular new scooter scene, where innovative companies such as Lime, Bird, and Lyft have placed thousands of electric scooters for rent around the downtown area as a convenient mode of transportation. When the scooters initially hit the streets last year, city council temporarily banned the companies so they could figure out how to regulate them.
Now they’ve created their first set of enforceable penalties that apply to all riders.
City council is expected to pass the new penalties at their March 28 meeting and is also preparing further restrictions for bike and scooter companies in May.