Scooters get green light from Mayor Stothert

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - After delaying Friday's launch, Mayor Jean Stothert has given the go-ahead to deploy hundreds of electric scooters to the streets of Omaha.

Tuesday afternoon, after receiving some answers, she signed the paperwork to go ahead with the launch.

Stothert's statement Tuesday cited concern that information from the scooter company, Lime, had been inconsistent, particularly with its geofencing technology.

Geofencing is used to stop riders from entering prohibited areas was required on bid documents, but Stothert said that Lime's representative said that technology would not be available in Omaha. Lime has now told the mayor that the geofencing will be implemented by June 14.

"I am disappointed in the mixed messages from Lime, and I hope there are no other surprises as we begin the pilot," Stothert said in the document, which is attached to this story.

After the City Council approved the six-month pilot program at their meeting Tuesday, May 7, Lime scooters were set to roll out Friday until the mayor said she had questions that still needed to be answered, and that she would readdress the issue Monday.

City Prosecutor Matthew Kuhse sent a memorandum to the Mayor's Office clearing up some details regarding city ordinances.

Scooter riders are not subject to DUI charges but they do have to follow the rules of the road including traffic control devices, staying off the sidewalk, yielding to oncoming traffic and signaling turns.

No driver's license is required to operate the scooters and no car insurance is needed.

Omaha Police issued a statement encouraging those using the scooters to use caution while operating, and reminding them where they can be operated.

"By accessing and using the scooters, the operator must agree to abide rules of the road," the statement said. "We would like the operators to be mindful of where the scooters can be used: downtown, Midtown, and the Benson area.

"Operators of the scooters can receive a citation if he/she violates traffic law, i.e. red lights, stop signs. Keep in mind that the scooters are not allowed on the sidewalk."