Before I start any trip – bicycle, walking, or riding with someone, I pray for safe travels. Where I live, I can ride my bicycle on sidewalks with the exception of the Central Business District (CBD). In the CBD, I am required to use the street. I avoid the CBD more because it’s a far enough ride that it’s out of the way most of the time. The city has two, possibly three, companies that rent electric scooters – https://www.wichita.gov/Scooters/Pages/default.aspx. I mention scooters even though most of the time, the riders are too busy controlling the scooter to engage in using cell phones, tablets, or other devices while using the scooters. It doesn’t stop some individuals.
As noted below, the scooters are not allowed on sidewalks although that doesn’t stop most from operating on sidewalks. The police department has no problem hitting those individuals with a $100 ticket for doing so.
City laws and regulations related to scooter operations can be found in the City’s Municipal Code. Please note: the regulations do not apply to scooters owned by individuals.
- Cannot operate on the sidewalk
- Can operate on bike paths and roadways posted 35 mph or less
- Can only operate until 9 p.m. or dusk
- No helmet, insurance, driver’s license or registration required
- Cannot ride more than two abreast
- Need to ride as close to the right as possible.
- No more than one person on the scooter at a time and cannot cling to a vehicle
- Parked scooters cannot block transit zones, loading zones, curb ramps, disabled parking zones, parking spaces, and entrances to driveways
- Riders must be 18 years of age or older
It doesn’t matter if I am riding day or night, I regularly run into pedestrians, skateboarders, bicyclists, and the occasional scooter on sidewalks who are busy talking on cell phones, texting, using tablets, or otherwise engaged in unwise and unsafe activities. At night, I have both my flashlight and a nasty lime green (or yellow or yellow-green, depending on how you see the color) reflective vest. For the most part, a large part of these trips are on sidewalks although some of the trips are on city streets. During daylight, I don’t use my flashlight as it’s not needed.
I lost track of how many times walkers, skateboarders, and bicyclists have been busy with cell phones or tablets and almost ran into me. Worse, at night, they often don’t have any light source and frequently wear dark clothing. As much of my route is on darkened sidewalks, I rely on looking for clues as I travel. Sometimes, I see a small light from their device that’s a clue I need to slow down or move out of their way if possible. In other cases, I see a darker spot that blocks out the light behind it which tends to indicate a person is the source of the light blockade.
My suggestion is don’t be distracted by these items while traveling by any of the above means, and I extend the suggestion to drivers as they have a bad habit of talking or texting while driving. There are several drop-offs on my route that are small hills, but large enough to cause the other person and/or me to be at risk of serious injury should we go tumbling down the hill. There are plenty of times where driving came close to running me over as they were busy doing something other than paying attention that I was there.