Confusion after St. Louis leaders put ban on electric scooters Downtown

Published: Jun. 6, 2022 at 10:35 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - In a press conference Monday morning, St. Louis City officials announced they banned the use of electric scooters like Bird and Lime downtown and in downtown west. However, there’s conflicting information as some scooter companies said otherwise and people were seen riding e-scooters Monday afternoon.

“We try to come to have fun like once a week. Came downtown to chill with my bros, and just ride the scooters, and just enjoy the weather,” Marcus Peters said.

Peters and his friends said they love coming downtown to hang out and on occasion ride e-scooters. However, it’s not Peters and his friends city leaders said they’re worried about. The city’s director of public safety, Dan Isom, said there have been multiple weekends where police are having to respond to large groups of teens gathering downtown. Many of those gatherings have resulted in multiple shootings.

Isom said parents are dropping kids off downtown and those kids are riding e-scooters, despite there being an age limit of 18 to ride. This past weekend two teens were shot downtown during another gathering.

“Following this incident, the public safety requested and the city granted a full turn-off of scooters in downtown and downtown west until further notice,” Isom said.

Monday afternoon, shortly after city officials made that announcement, electric scooters were still working. You pay to ride the e-scooters and we tested it out, finding the city makes money after each use. While some residents and visitors like the idea of e-scooters downtown, many others said they should’ve removed them a while ago.

“People riding recklessly through traffic. People riding recklessly down sidewalks. They’re just completely being abused. They’re being left in piles of scooters on the sidewalk,” Dan Pistor said.

Pistor’s lived downtown for years and is apart of the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA). He said the DNA has asked the city for years to shut down the scooters.

“I think it’s great that they’re banned. I think that’s a good first step,” Pistor said.

We asked e-scooter companies what was going on since we saw dozens riding scooters downtown Monday afternoon. On background, one company said the city requested that all scooter operations temporarily pause operations for the day on Sunday.

“You can’t take one group of people that’s doing it and ban the whole city. I’ve seen old people, older than me, riding the scooters,” Peters explained.

Peters also added that parents and law enforcement should be taking more responsibility when it comes to kids and teens being unsupervised downtown.

“We can’t just have people just dropping off their kids downtown and letting them roam around. It’s not safe for them, and it’s not safe for some of the others as well,” Pistor added.

Around 9:30p.m. Monday, Bird reached out to News 4 to clarify that they’re working to temporarily shut down scooters in the downtown area at the request of city leaders. Bird also sent us the following statement:

“Bird is committed to providing the safest possible riding experience to the Saint Louis community. That’s why we offer a number of features, such as ID scan – which verifies riders are 18 or older – as well as reduced speeds in the downtown area to keep all road users safer. On behalf of our riders, we hope the City will allow its e-scooter providers to resume operations for the tens of thousands of Saint Louisans who rely on our service to get home from work in the evening as well as those who don’t feel safe on public transit or don’t own a car.” - Adam Davis, Senior Manager of Government Partnerships at Bird.