By Gaige Davila
Just weeks after their arrival, the future of dockless scooters on South Padre Island is in question.
Last Wednesday, South Padre Island City Council voted to convene a committee to examine the city’s ordinances on dockless scooters, after several citizen complaints and police reports of reckless riding.
SPI Councilmember Kerry Schwartz, who brought the item to the agenda, mentioned that he saw underage riders riding without helmets, in tandem, and that he nearly hit them leaving his street.
“I don’t want this to end up killing somebody,” Schwartz said. “Padre Boulevard is a mode of transportation, it’s a state highway. We’re turning it into an amusement park.”
Schwartz said though there are laws “in the book” regarding scooter operation, people are not following them. These rules include riders being 16-years-and-older, wearing a helmet, yielding to pedestrians and not riding on sidewalks.
The scooters, owned by El Paso-based company Glide, appeared on the Island around Mar. 11, according to SPI Police Chief Claudine O’Carroll. Since then, SPIPD has ticketed riders for riding against traffic, on the sidewalk, not using helmets, riding underage, and recovered scooters to return to their place of origin.
“It’s just kept us very busy,” O’Carroll said, noting the youngest solo rider the department has documented was 11-years-old. The youngest tandem rider was 4-years-old, riding a scooter with her father.
South Padre Island residents attending the meeting shared similar complaints about the scooters.
“I think the few citations that (SPIPD) have already given out has made an impact, but it’s not enough,” South Padre Island resident Rod Hunter told the council.
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