City council delays approval of shared mobility device ordinance at South Lake Tahoe |

City council delays approval of shared mobility device ordinance at South Lake Tahoe

Laney Griffo /
Lime scooters being used alongside U.S. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After a lively discussion, the city has decided to put off passing a shared mobility device ordinance until more information has been gathered. 

The topic was brought up during the Oct. 17 council meeting, where concerns over the age of users, the use of Lime scooters in Heavenly Village and enforcement of rules was discussed. 

The council voted to draft an ordinance that would address these concerns. 

During the Nov. 5 meeting, the draft ordinance was presented to the council which would limit the age of use to 18 years old or older, would provide for geofencing to prevent the scooters to be ridden in Heavenly Village, bans dockless bikes, would fine the shared mobility device provider for misuse and require the provider to ban users who misuse the scooters multiple times. 

The council started discussion by asking Lt. David Stevenson about enforcing the ordinance. 

Stevenson said the police department needs to decide on how to enforce the rules, whether it be added staff, a rearrangement of staff or community volunteers.

“I think we have higher priorities in our communities than scooters,” said Councilmember Devin Middlebrook, who is in favor of Lime scooters because it lessens the number of people in cars.

The public expressed concern over the safety of pedestrians in the community but there was also positive feedback on the impact of Lime scooters have on the environment. 

Besides environmental impact, Middlebrook also wanted the council to think about safety concerns in terms of the bigger picture, stating that in the scheme of things, there are very few accidents involving the scooters. 

Councilmember Cody Bass wants the city to have additional insurance in case of accidents.

Mayor Pro Tem Jason Collin thinks the city shouldn’t be liable for the users mistakes while riding. 

“We are not responsible for people’s poor decisions,” Collin said. 

In addition to insurance, Bass would also like to see the vendor pay for lines on the roads and signs that would tell users the safest routes to take with the scooters. 

Another point of contention is the ban on dockless bikes. Mayor Brook Laine wants to see a ban on bikes in general, stating the local bike shops should be the only ones providing bikes for tourists in the city. 

Middlebrook chimed in to say the demographic of people renting from a bike shop is different from the people who would want to use a bike for a short ride down the street. 

Gavin Feiger, Senior Land Use Policy Analyst for the League to Save Lake Tahoe also said during the public comment period that he didn’t think the ban on dockless bikes was realistic for South Lake. 

The council decided to push off making a decision on the ordinance until the additional insurance could be researched and other safety concerns addressed.

The ordinance wouldn’t go into effect until Spring 2020, so council feels it has time to get the ordinance right.

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