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Could electric scooters, which are growing in popularity worldwide, soon be coming to Buffalo?

Posted at 4:48 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-15 13:55:02-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Can you imagine yourself zipping around town in an electric scooter. In just over 2 years, more than 100 cities across the world have started using them. Buffalo may not be far behind.

"We should embrace electronic technologies when it comes to transportation," Buffalo city councilman, Rich Fontana, said.

Electric scooters are illegal right now in New York. However, In his 2020 budget, Governor Cuomo has left it up to local governments to decide if they want to legalize this new way of getting around.

With smartphone applications such as Lime, Bird, and, Spin you can book a scooter for about a dollar and ride to your destination for around 20 cents a mile. Riding one of these scooters doesn't come without risk, though.

"Theres also been may reports of injuries about 1,500 in the last couple years or so that we think need to be taken into consideration when looking at these policies," Mitch LaRosa, a mobility planner with the ride sharing consulting firm Shared Mobility, said.

It's also not clear if there were accidents involving the scooters who would be responsible, the company, individual, or city.

Another issue is locking them up. There aren't the equivalent of bike racks for scooters. In other cities, complaints have been made that scooters are left scattered on the sidewalk.

"I think there should be some type of infrastructure where if you are done with it then you return it to the proper rack," Fontana said.

But LaRosa said these new forms of technology are the way of the future, so we better get use to it.

"They are part of our transportation landscape and we should accept that."

While it's not clear when scooters could be popping up in Buffalo, it is clear the governor is open to the idea and is willing to let local government make the call.