30 percent of Minneapolis scooter users are doin' it wrong

Pictured: Some of the 70 percent of Minneapolis riders doin' it right (except for the lack of helmets).

Pictured: Some of the 70 percent of Minneapolis riders doin' it right (except for the lack of helmets). Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

Pedestrians are drenched. Bicyclists are trying not to slide off the seat. Bus and train travelers are overly reliant on air conditioning, and not ready for what's about to hold them like a hug from humidity itself.

If someone does walk into an indoor structure dry, you should 1) glare suspiciously, and 2) approach immediately and yell, "STAY OFF THE SIDEWALKS!" Clearly they've arrived via scooter, and according to the city of Minneapolis, 3 out of 10 of them are still struggling with following (or knowing) the rules around those newfangled things.

There aren't many! Per a city fact sheet, Minneapolis wants you to:

  • Not ride on sidewalks
  • Wear a helmet
  • Use bike lanes first and, failing that, ride along with traffic like a bike would
  • Yield to foot traffic

That's it, that's the list. And yet, of about 700 reports filed on an internal city app for monitoring usage, many of us aren't observant. Same goes for parking, where the city says you should 1) not block sidewalks, 2) leave the scooter upright, 3) not park on private property, and 4) leave it by the curb, where it will hopefully entice its next rider to hop into the bike lane instead of the moving stew of panting, glistening pedestrians.

(St. Paul's published riding rules are stated even more plainly, and should, evidently, include the instruction to not, uh, destroy them all like a maniac.) 

Last year, 75,000 Minneapolis commuters took some 225,000 trips, and that number's on the rise. So, probably not by coincidence, are ride prices.

A full review of the scooter program's progress and/or drawbacks won't happen 'til later this year, so store up all your tales of almost getting clipped on by some grinning business bro or coasting into your happy hour, glands straight chillin'. 

"A majority of the time, people just don't know [the rules]," says Joshua Johnson, Minneapolis' manager for "advanced mobility." The city's trying to combat that ignorance through social media and in-person events to educate riders. 

We still endorse yelling, even without a shred of evidence of wrongdoing, but that's the difference between the city and City Pages.