By Diane Ako and Taires Hiranaka
HONOLULU (KHNL) - A bill to make the streets of Waikiki safer is "scooting" along in the State Capitol. It would prevent many people from using electric scooters on the sidewalk.
Does this look like a nusiance on Oahu sidewalks? Representative Tom Brower (D- Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako) said enough of his constituents have complained of such that he created this bill. "Because it's motorized, it comes zipping down the sidewalks. It's very quiet. It goes right by pedestrians who feel alarmed. Sometimes there's collisions because of sidewalk congestion."
Or is it just a fun and easy way to get around? Waikiki resident Bleach Lowery lives across the street from the scooter rental shop. She's never rented one herself, but she remarked, "I think the scooters are awesome. Older people use them, younger people use them. It's cool."
The electric scooters and their company, YOScooters, are the subject of a bill introduced by state lawmaker Tom Brower. "My intention is not to put that company out of business, but rather, to open up the issue of sidewalk congestion and how we can better take care of it."
He's proposing only certain people can ride them on sidewalks. "If you are incapacitated in some way or a senior who needs better mobility you should be allowed to use an electric vehicle on the sidewalk."
The company is, predictably, upset. "These electric scooters are the company's most popular item, renting 30 a day at the Waikiki location. They say if the bill were to pass it'd put this store out of business."
YOScooters manager Glen Tanaka complained it would force them into a corner. "People who are disabled rent the scooters. If they put an age limit on this, they're discriminating against age."
The scooters are popular in Waikiki, where resident Bleach Lowrey noticed it doesn't appear to be a danger. "With anything there's going to be a small group of people that mess it up, but most people I see using them will beep their horn, move out of the way."