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City council talks possible bike, scooter share program for Missoula

MISSOULA – A bike and scooter share system might be making its way to Missoula, but at a public hearing on Wednesday city council members voiced some reservations they have with the program.

Questions focused on the varying level of speeds the motorized vehicles can go, age limits and whether or not the rentals clog up existing public paths.

“I get the point that we are trying to increase our mode split and to be more environmentally sensitive, but when you look at all of the spinoff effects that might come from batteries and building more infrastructure and all that other stuff, I wonder how much of a wash that is,” said Ward 4 councilman John DiBari.

One big issue that follows scooter/bike share programs wherever they go is what people do with them when they’re finished with them. Most have the ability to be simply left behind wherever you are once your time is up, which can create huge piles of them throughout the city

Those in favor of the plan say that the companies who own the rentals will be responsible for their pick-up and that it will be done in a timely manner.

“If it’s impacting mobility it can be moved immediately and we may even charge the company for it. But if someone just says ‘I just saw a scooter at the park and it’s been there for a little while, will you do something about it?’ they call the city, then we call the company and say ‘go out and get that because we just received a call for it’ and that’s where they would get 24 hours to do that,” said Missoula bicycle pedestrian program manager Ben Weiss.

The Missoula City Council is currently changing city ordinances so that if the program does come to town they will be prepared for all of the effects it might have on the city.

“Passage of this ordinance does not mean that a scooter share system is coming to Missoula, Montana tomorrow. What this means is that we have an orderly framework for regulation that allows the system to come under reasonable regulations,” said Ward 2 councilman Jordan Hess.

Council members will try to work out all the problems they see with the ordinance changes before the public hearing on June 3.

Connor McCauley

Connor McCauley

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