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CB council okay with policy on scooters and other transportation

Scooters and one-wheels basically allowed almost everywhere in town

By Mark Reaman

The Crested Butte Town Council will allow people to continue to use so-called “toy vehicles” such as electric scooters and one-wheels in most town rights of way. At the November 5 council meeting, chief marshal Mike Reily explained the department’s enforcement policy, which basically is to let people use such modes of transportation anywhere in town, with the exception of the Mountain Express route on Sixth Street, Elk Avenue and Whiterock Avenue.

“From our perspective it is a public safety issue,” Reily said. “The main thing we want to do is reduce conflict between people and vehicles.”

Reily gave a rundown of various transportation modes including scooters, one-wheels, skateboards, kick sleds and electric bikes and how state and local laws are applied by the marshals.

He wrote in a memo to the council that aside from the busy bus route, the department provides “limited enforcement in other areas of town, particularly when traffic is light or sidewalks are open with little potential for conflict.” Reily said reckless or careless conduct on roadways or sidewalks with any type of vehicle is not permitted.

Reily said the marshals were open to doing whatever the council wanted with those types of vehicles. Town attorney John Sullivan said if councilmembers wanted to limit such transportation devices to certain areas of town, they should be very specific about where.

“I brought it up after seeing several articles in the Denver Post about the proliferation of scooters in the city and the issues they are causing,” said mayor Jim Schmidt.

Reily emphasized that there was no such problem in Crested Butte at the moment and his officers remain “flexible with enforcement depending on the situation. We expect people to be cautious and responsible,” he said. “Honestly, we haven’t had much conflict with them. People here are pretty good and the speed limit is pretty low. If we are missing something, let us know and we can address it.”

Councilman Will Dujardin suggested that, like his stance on the “Idaho Stop,” it would be appropriate in Crested Butte to formalize the use of such vehicles. “These are alternative ways for people to get around town,” he explained. “They’re low-emission. They operate like bikes. If our town is one that operates differently from other places we should reframe the question. I feel we should be looking at allowing them to be used, even on places like Elk Avenue.”

Dujardin said he didn’t want the council to start limiting people and their life choices. “Let’s not be draconian,” he suggested. “I would encourage the council to allow the citizens to continue to be who they are and not have the government come down with more and more rules prohibiting that.”

Councilman Jackson Petito asked, “If we do nothing, the marshals will then continue to simply enforce the regulations when people are doing it unsafely?”

“Correct,” responded Reily. “We try to keep them out of the Elk and Sixth Street corridors and away from the buses. There are parallel streets that can be used all over town. If they are being operated safely we kind of let it roll. We rely on warnings and education. Elk Avenue is just too congested. The side streets are not a problem.”

“If anything is being operated unsafely the operator deserves to be talked to by a marshal. But if someone is using a one-wheel to go get their mail, I don’t see that as an issue,” said Dujardin, who advocated for more open use everywhere in town.

“The gist of it is they can do it safely on any other street besides essentially Elk and Sixth,” said Reily. “We get it. Even though many of these are not permitted on the streets by state law we understand the town doesn’t have the sidewalks, so it is a practical matter. Someone wanting to skateboard has to get to the skate park.”

The majority of the council felt the current enforcement policy was working and chose to let that continue, with no change in policy.

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