City of Waco expected to approve electronic bikes and scooters pilot program

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You’ll soon be seeing rental bikes and scooters buzzing around downtown Waco this summer.

This new pilot program is expected to be approved by the city and is drawing some good and bad reactions – especially after a video of a scooter rider in Austin getting hit by a car made its way across social media.

“Oh goodness,” says Waco Councilmen John Kinnairds after watching a dash cam video of a jeep plowing into a scooter rider in Austin.

“As long as these things are used responsibly, hopefully things like that won’t happen,” Kinnaird says.

These are just one of the many concerns some have as rental bikes and scooters will soon be buzzing around downtown Waco starting this June.

“The scooter companies themselves have software that should hopefully keep scooters, particularly the scooters from being on sidewalks or being in places they shouldn’t be,” Kinnaird says.

Waco City Council members are expected to approve a one-year pilot program with bike and scooter company Gotcha Bikes to see if these could be a great fit for the city.

Chelsea Phlegar is a senior planner with the Waco Metropolitan Planning Organization. She presented the plan to the city on Tuesday, after more than a year of discussions. 

“If this really does take off and this program is something that is utilized by a lot of our citizens and tours alike that we provide the proper infrastructure, bike lanes and whatnot by the site to provide a safe place for folks to enjoy these devices,” Kinnaird says.

Many welcomed the idea.

“I think it would be great! When we went to Europe they had them everywhere,” says visitor Karen Morgan.

Some, like the store manager of the Hey Sugar candy store, say they could be troublesome.

“[The program] Could potentially be a fun and exciting idea for Waco, especially for tourists. I guess it could potentially turn messy if people leave them all in front of the store or all around the city,” says Hey Sugar Manager Nichollette Coleman.

The Gotcha app goes through everything from traffic laws to brakes, lighting, even wearing a helmet – but FOX44 asked what other safety concerns did city officials talk about.

“We’re going to have designated spots where they can go, designated spots where they can’t park, designated roads where the scooters will just shut down. Busier roadways in our community, that they’re not on those to try to help again, promote safety,” Kinnaird says.

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