Blue Duck Scooters getting extended in Spartanburg for 12 months

Local News

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The Blue Duck Scooters will be in the city of Spartanburg for at least another 12 months.

During Monday night’s council meeting council decided to extend the city’s electric scooter pilot program. Some council members say the topic has been controversial amongst council.

Councilmember J. Ruth Littlejohn said she wasn’t for the scooters in the beginning.

“I was totally against them to start with, because I just felt they were going to be a nuisance,” said Littlejohn.

She said now she’s completely onboard with them.

“Over time, I have come to get adjusted toward, and I can see they are beneficial to a lot of people,” she said.

Meghan Smith, with Spartanburg City Council, said one of her main concerns has always been safety.

“I think of the main concerns for me remains scooter and pedestrian and vehicle safety,” said Smith.

Smith said she still has concerns. She said the ordinance requires that people ride them on the road, not the sidewalks. But, she said she still sees people riding them along the sidewalks every day.

As part of a solution, Smith said she wants the city to provide council with a plan for more bike lanes.

“So that those that are riding the scooter know that there’s a dedicated and safe space for them on the road,” she said.

She brought that point up during the council meeting. Assistant City Manager Mitch Kennedy said the city is looking into it.

“Looking at bike lanes and assessing our current bike lanes in our downtown area as well as neighborhoods that are close to downtown. We will apply that assessment through our new traffic engineer,” said Kennedy.

City officials said the Texas-based company is making some changes: In certain areas, the scooter speed will be reduced where there is high traffic volume, a geofence will be in place where the scooters aren’t permitted, and the scooters will shut down in 10 seconds, instead of 30, when in areas they’re not allowed to be.

Even with concerns, council ended up voting 6-to-1 in favor of keeping the scooters.

City officials said everyone involved will continue to have a discussion with law enforcement about enforcing the scooter rules.

The city currently has 100 scooters, but officials said the company will be monitoring the usage to determine if they will add more to the fleet.

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