COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– The city of Columbus has banned the use of electric scooters on High St. in the Short North Arts District between 5th Ave. and Goodale St. to increase safety and curb crime in the area.
The ban from the Department of Public Service took effect at 5 p.m. Monday after they say the Columbus Division of Police raised concerns about the continued misuse of scooters in the area despite their attempts to educate the public, they say riders continued dangerous and illegal behavior.
E-scooter can still be used to get to, from, and around the Short North, but on secondary streets such as Wall and Pearl Streets where there is less traffic, vehicular and pedestrian.
Short North Alliance Executive Director Betsy Pandora stated in an email, “The Short North Arts District remains accessible by scooters up to 5-10 feet away from High Street from Goodale to 5th Avenue through geofencing.”
Once the scooters get within that barrier, the scooter will either beep, slow, or stop altogether.
Full statement from the Short North Alliance on scooter restrictions:
Over the last few months, with the return of many visitors to the Short North Arts District, we have seen an increase in the use of scooters that have contributed to unsafe situations for pedestrian safety.
Community, business, and residential stakeholders have consistently and increasingly shared concerns about scooter use and pedestrian safety with the Short North Alliance and the City of Columbus.
Additionally, the Short North Crime Interdiction Pilot program operating at key times when there have been recent incidents involving violent crime has yielded observations from Columbus Police about further unsafe scooter use and challenges with enforcement.
Through ongoing discussions about safety and injury prevention in the Short North Arts District where we have delivered feedback about scooter concerns, we learned that the City of Columbus felt it was important to place safety restrictions on the use of scooters on sidewalks facing High Street and on High Street.
However, those restrictions do not ban scooter use and the Short North Arts District remains accessible by scooters up to 5-10 feet away from High Street from Goodale to 5th Avenue through geofencing.
Once a scooter enters the geofenced area, depending on which company operates it, it may beep, slow, or not be able to be operated in the zone. This is not the first time that geofencing safety restrictions for scooter use has been used in Columbus. Frequently it is used in high-pedestrian traffic areas when there have been major events, festivals, or parades to protect pedestrian safety.
We believe that this is a necessary public safety intervention while still preserving access to an important mobility option in our community. We look forward to observing its impact and will continue to gather community feedback on this important decision to address pedestrian safety and mobility options.