In the unlikely event that you actually get busted by Dallas police for riding an electric scooter somewhere you shouldn't, chances are you'll walk, or glide, away with a warning and a stern talking to rather than a ticket, Dallas Police Department brass said Monday. Giving out citations to scooter riders just isn't a high priority, DPD Assistant Chief David Pughes said.
"Public safety is our primary concern," Pughes told the Dallas City Council's Public Safety Committee. "We're not looking to do much enforcement around this."
In late June, the City Council signed off on a bevy of regulations for two-wheeled, shared transit. The rules permit electric scooters on Dallas' streets and sidewalks for the first time, on a six-month trial basis, but limit the vehicles from being used on the city's trail system and sidewalks downtown. Since the scooters made their debuts, complaints about sidewalk safety in high-pedestrian traffic areas like Deep Ellum, Uptown and the Bishop Arts District have dotted social media.
Pughes said Monday that, despite anecdotal claims, police haven't seen a large number of injuries or crimes related to the scooters or bike-share bikes requiring an emergency response.
According to Dallas Fire and Rescue, paramedics have answered 32 calls for those injured riding a bike and four calls for those injured riding a scooter since May 1. DFR could not separate the bike calls into those riding personally owned bikes and those riding bike-share bikes, Pughes said.
The assistant chief said the number of reports about bike-share bikes being used during a crime was a statistically insignificant handful.
"We're not in position to say that [those crimes] would not have occurred had the suspect not had access to that vehicle," Pughes said.
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Despite the lack of evidence, City Council member Kevin Felder, who represents the area surrounding Fair Park, insisted that bike-share bikes were being used in drug deals and as getaway vehicles. The companies operating bike-share bikes in Dallas have to keep better track of who is using them, he said.
"People have told me, and they're giving me very intimate information about how they're being utilized," Felder said, insisting that, while his constituents won't talk to the police, they'll talk to him. "The bike-share companies are not doing a good job of tracking where the bikes are."
Felder's complaints notwithstanding, police, the City Council and city staff all seemed pleased Monday with how bike share and, now, scooter share are proceeding.
"I am not hearing any updates on issues we need to address," committee Chairman Adam McGough said.