Gray area surrounds Indy’s scooter restrictions

Scooter ordinance leaves a lot of gray area

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The fine for riding a scooter in places you are not supposed to — like on a sidewalk — starts at $20, and they have to be paid within 28 days. But the ordinance that police use to enforce scooter traffic in Indianapolis leaves a lot of gray area.

Scooters are supposed to be ridden on the streets and in designated areas. The sidewalks and street around Monument Circle are not designated areas for scooter use.   

When News 8 spotted Mack Creighton taking a leisurely ride around the circle, he knew there was a chance the cops might stop him. 

“When you sign up for the app it does say that is a possibility, so yeah I expect to see it every once in a while, but I’m not surprised it is not happening,” said Mack Creighton. 

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Major Kendale Adams told News 8 the scooter ordinance lacks teeth.

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“What it says right now in the right of way, can mean an alley, street, sidewalks so that is what we are trying to clarify with our city legal as well as the companies,” explained Adams. 

The devil is in the details. The agreement between the city and scooter companies requires riders to be 18 years of age and ride in designated areas on the street, but the agreement is not an ordinance.

Brandon Hollander and his buddy A.J. Kelley were using scooters for the second time on Wednesday. They admitted to not being big fans of the scooters, but it’s a nice day and the allure of a semi-effortless trip around the circle in the sun is tough to turn down. Both Kelley and Hollander are aware of the restrictions but unsure of scooters in the city. 

“There are not great regulations or infrastructure in place for them, and they are kind of a mess and they don’t, I’m not opposed to riding them but on an institutional level it is probably not the best thing for the city,” said A.J. Kelley.

The clear path to the orderly use of scooters in Indianapolis will be a new ordinance, which will take time. In the meantime, the city is considering warning signs on sidewalks and stickers on the scooters that better spell out restrictions.

“I think it is the allure that yeah you can go, you can go on the street or technically you are not supposed to but you can go on the sidewalk without really having any repercussion and it gets you around the town quicker than walking,” said Creighton. 

Fines for operating a scooter in violation of the city ordinance must be paid in person, which police admit could be troublesome for out-of-town visitors. Unpaid fines could result in an arrest warrant.