Scooters, Electric Bicycles Growing in Popularity
Now that Christmas is over, many people are using their new gifts. Electric scooters and bicycles were popular this year.
Many folks in several South Austin neighborhoods are leaving their cars in the driveway and scooting around town on something new.
Amy Meyer rides her electric bike to the gym, to the store and to many other places around her Travis Heights neighborhood.
"I thought this would be the ideal solution to just be able to use this everywhere I go, just get on the bike and go," Meyer said.
These electric vehicles are growing in popularity as people look for more fuel efficient and inexpensive modes of transportation.
"Electric scooters, electric bikes and electric mopeds have no kind of emission at all. They actually consume less in the way of materials to be produced and depending on how you recharge your scooter be it solar or out the outlet you are using very little energy to keep it going," Ann McSpadden, with Alien Scooters, said.
They're also quiet. That's why many people in South Austin are finding them to be a perfect solution to Austin's growing traffic congestion.
"People that live in the center city and especially in South Austin live there for a reason. They want a certain kind of lifestyle that isn't so car dependent that is maybe a little more neighbor friendly," Robin Cravey, with the Zilker Neighborhood Association, said.
In the last legislative session state lawmakers passed laws that specifically address scooters and e-bikes. They must meet certain requirements such as have at least two wheels on the ground at all times, they must have a braking system and must be able to be moved by human power alone.
The law also requires riders to use them only on public streets with speed limits of 30 miles per hour or less.
A city of Austin ordinance bans them from public parks.
Police said every user should read the manufacturer's manual closely, follow instructions and know the laws before riding.
"You also need to abide by the same laws while you are riding these vehicles as motor vehicles abide by such as stop signs, red lights, yield signs and things like that," Austin Police Department Det. Ely Reyes said.
In South Austin the vehicles are a popular way to get around. In time more of them may be rolling through other Austin neighborhoods as well.
Although not required by law, police urge everyone to wear a bike helmet when using an electric scooter or e-bike as they recommend you do with regular bicycles.
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