NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The sight of electric scooters zipping around the city might soon be commonplace.
The City Council, at last week's meeting, adopted Ordinance 0-101904, which outlines which roads electric scooters are allowed on, where they can be parked, and what the penalties are for violating the rules, among other regulations.
The city added the guidelines governing electric scooters - or e-scooters - to its books as it continues to look into partnering with an electric scooter vendor.
Community Development Administrator Daniel Dominguez said at last week's meeting that representatives of scooter companies met twice with city Traffic Commission officials to demonstrate their scooters.
E-scooters have become a popular mode of transportation over the past several months.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law in May deeming that e-scooters and e-bikes with a maximum speed of 20 mph should be regulated like basic bicycles, meaning that registration, insurance and driver's license are not required.
Murphy touted e-scooters as a "fantastic" alternative to cars because they can help alleviate emissions in the air and congestion on the roads. Under Murphy's law, electric scooters are allowed on any roadway that bicycles are allowed.
E-scooters, however, are not permitted on sidewalks. In fact, according to the ordinance, the penalty for riding on an e-scooter a sidewalk will be $250 for the first offense and $500 for each subsequent offense.
Hoboken and Asbury Park recently launched electric scooter sharing programs and scooter rental companies such as Bird and Lyft are getting into the New Jersey market.
According to a map attached to the ordnance, the city is moving to ban e-scooters from operating on Route 18.
"Route 18, believe it or not, happens to be somewhere that you actually can ride your own bicicyle across and take your own life into your own hands," Dominguez said at the meeting. "Basically what we are trying to do here is say to any company that would come here and provide shared scooter services we would prohibit them from getting to these portions of the city so that they cannot get their scooters onto Route 18 for safety reasons. They can service the rest of the city, but they cannot enter the highway."
According to a map included in the ordinance, the area near the New Brunswick Housing Authority on Van Dyke Avenue and the area around Feaster Park have been identified by the city as "neighborhoods in need of electric scooter locations" and would likely have charging stations located in those areas.
Dominguez said the city envisions the e-scooters potentially being used by residents, visitors and Rutgers students.