By Cecilia Chan, GSN Managing Editor
Gilbert has given e-scooter companies Bird and Lime until Thursday, April 25 to participate in its pilot program or get out of town. Staff also has met with Jump, Spin, Razor and Sweep but because they have not deployed any scooters in town, they were not given a deadline and can apply to be a part of the pilot program at any point while it is open, according to town spokeswoman Jennifer Harrison. The pilot program kicked off April 6 and has no sunset date until the Council decides to end it. All motorized play vehicles, including electric bicycles and powered skateboards also fall under this program. So far, Lime seems to be the only participant. “Lime is currently working with Gilbert on our application and hopeful to continue serving the city,” said Taylor Bennett, company spokesman. Lime wheeled its scooters out of Tempe in February citing the high cost of doing business after the city imposed new regulations and fees. Bird, the first to station scooters in Gilbert, did not response to a request for comments. Bird pulled its scooters out of Peoria in January after both sides failed to come to an agreement over that city’s pilot program. After the onslaught of scooters invaded the Valley last year, municipalities have been trying to get a handle on them with reports of accidents and complaints the devices were discarded in public rights-of-way after use by riders. Once the license agreements are executed, which was expected to be approximately in mid-May, the town will start enforcing the pilot program’s rules, Harrison said. Rules include companies must perform, at a minimum, one daily fleet inspection to rebalance and properly park micromobility devices, all devices must be made inoperable for new riders to initiate a ride by 10 p.m., all devices must be limited to a maximum speed of 10 mph and devices can’t be staged within 10 feet of locations such as curb ramps, driveways, building entrances and fire hydrants. To participate, companies will have to pay a one-time pilot program fee of $2,500. They also will have to pay Gilbert 10 cents a ride for a monthly operating fee and pay into a bond – $25 per device – that the town can use to cover the costs associated with auditing, removing and storing improperly parked vehicles. Companies also will be responsible for any damage to town property such as sidewalks caused by the devices. Rules for electric scooter riders, however, kicked into effect April 6. Riders can use micromobility devices on sidewalks and on multi-use paths, unless there are signs prohibiting it such as along Gilbert Road in the Heritage District. They also can ride on public streets with posted speed limits of 25mph or less. Riders are prohibited from parking the devices in locations such as the middle of a sidewalk, on sidewalk ramps and against signs.