Electric scooters operating in grey area

Local News

HONOLULU (KHOn2) — Tired of Walking? Go X scooters is looking to be a solution.

Ride at your own risk. The electric scooter remains illegal on city streets and sidewalks.

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The company’s CEO Alex Debelov said they are operating in a grey area.

“As far as the law goes, it is very much a grey area,” Debelov said. “I’ve even challenged the city. The biggest thing was, look, is anyone who’s operating an electric bicycle, to electric scooters needs to know current laws? Need to be considered a moped? Needs to register? Or are they doing so illegally? They agreed they need to define the vehicles more broadly, and we’re helping them do that.”

The state classifies electric foot scooters as mopeds. But since the scooters are not technically able to be registered as a moped, they continue to operate with no specific state or county regulation.

In the past, companies like Lime Scooters left as quickly as they got to the island. Debelov said they are running a different operation. The company’s scooters are docked on hotel and retail properties through a partnership, the scooters are not left to litter public spaces.

Debelov said, “Someone is going to operate a scooter rental business, you can’t just leave scooters on a public property, directly talking about other companies like Lime that launched illegally in Waikiki.”

Debelov is counting on Governor David Ige to sign House Bill 72 into law. It would create a distinction between electric scooters and mopeds.

The city’s department of transportation services supports the bill. The department is working on draft legislation for the city council to regulate electric foot scooters if the bills is signed.

A DTS spokesperson said there is no decision made on whether electric scooters can operate on bike lanes, roads or sidewalks.

“It’s become like a partnership, right, instead of saying you’re wrong with this, you’re wrong with that, we have been saying how can we solve this issue,” Debelov said. “How can we improve this model, how can we work together to make sure this is successful?”

The governor will release his intent to veto list on June 21, and with it deciding the future of electric foot scooters.

Without any changes to the law, police may cite anyone riding an electric scooter on city sidewalks and roads.

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