Street teams work downtown to inform community of scooter safety

Gracie Awalt

Austin Lime scooter users have taken nearly 600,000 rides since the company launched 14 months ago, according to a press release from Lime in late September. With dockless scooters rising in popularity, city officials are making efforts to ensure the community knows how to ride safely. 

The Austin Police Department and Transportation Department sent groups of police officers and Street Team Ambassadors wearing reflective vests to Congress Avenue on Thursday to inform the community of safe “scooting” practices. 

They approached scooter users at intersections to answer safety questions and distribute informational cards about wearing helmets, parking respectfully by not blocking sidewalks and riding one person per scooter in bike lanes. 

“This is a new mode of transportation, and we want to make sure people are on the same page on how to do it right and how to do it safely,” said Jen Samp, Austin Transportation Department representative. 

Samp said with the Austin City Limits Music Festival starting this weekend, these education efforts are more important than ever as thousands of people visit Austin in the next two weeks. 

“This (effort) is something we need to educate people who are coming into town who don’t know the rules,” Samp said. “We get to show people how Austin rolls safely.” 

Jason Redfern, parking enterprise manager at the City of Austin, said many people do not know Congress Avenue is a no-ride zone, meaning people can not use the scooters on the sidewalks.  

“We’re asking people to use the side streets and to use the lane of traffic if they’re going to be on Congress Avenue,” Redfern said. “If you take shots of the street, you’ll see that there’s a large pedestrian population. There’s sidewalk cafés and its hustling and bustling, and we definitely don’t want to mix a dockless vehicle in with all of that activity.”

Angela Trevino, communication and leadership sophomore, said she uses electric scooters often and believes these information efforts will help Austin be safer during ACL. 

“People who come to Austin for ACL who have never used a scooter before might think that they can use the scooters wherever they want and under the influence of alcohol,” Trevino said. “I honestly think this is a good thing that the City is doing because the first time you ride, it is scary, and to know the rules will help you a little better.”