Bill would set ground rules for electric scooters in Ohio

    Electric scooters like these are common sights in many American cities. A proposed bill would establish rules for how they could be ridden in Ohio. Wikimedia Commons photo courtesy Steve Morgan.

    State Rep. James Hoops gave fellow legislators an offer they perhaps could not refuse.

    If any senators wanted to ride an electric scooter, Hoops said he knew some people who have one and would let them take a spin.

    These days, of course, e-scooters are as ubiquitous in Columbus and other big cities as are park benches. It wouldn’t take long for a legislator to find and ride one, but if they did, a new bill sponsored by Hoops, R-Napoleon, would set the ground rules for how they can be used.

    Rep. James Hoops, R-Napoleon

    House Bill 295 provides default regulations for low-speed electric scooters across the state. It does allow for local governments and park districts to establish their own rules for e-scooters or ban them altogether. 

    The bill passed the House in October with an 89-1 vote. Hoops attended the Senate Transportation, Commerce and Workforce Committee on Wednesday to provide sponsor testimony.

    The bill would allow for e-scooters to be ridden on public streets, sidewalks and bike paths, provided the user is at least 16 years old, obeys existing traffic laws and does not exceed 15 miles per hour. If ridden at night, the scooters must be equipped with lights and a red rear reflector.

    Tyler Buchanan
    Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.