• E-Scooters in Hoboken: The Rules, Regs, and Riots

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    With Hoboken rolling out the very first electric scooter program in the state of New Jersey earlier this week, there is an inevitable adjustment period. On May 20th, the city launched the very first e-scooter program, making e-scooters an available method of transportation throughout the Mile Square. The city received 300 vehicles, all of which don’t go above 20mph, powered by Lime Scooters and OjO Electric by PG3M.

    ojo scooters

    As the first riders took to scooters, hundreds {if not thousands} of complaints flooded into the inboxes of Hoboken officials and some officials themselves even gave their two cents.

    “What I saw yesterday was absolute chaos,” Hoboken Councilman Mike DeFusco said to News 12. “Sometimes being the first is great. But in this situation being the first also means that we have to deal with all of the issues that have been unforeseen and even the issues that the council had predicted.”

    Regardless, the City of Hoboken reported 2700 trips the first day of the program {and 3000 miles traveled}.

    hoboken scooters

    Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante also weighed in on the matter, citing that he’d seen hundreds of complaints in the few days since the e-scooter plan launched.

    “The largest complaint was them riding on the sidewalks. The people not knowing the laws,” he shared with News 12.

    chief ferrante scooter complaints

    Ferrante and DeFusco were hardly the only ones to comment on the chaos that ensued the first few days. Some of the most vocal were Hoboken residents themselves. News 12, Pix 11Hmag, and The Hudson Reporter also picked up stories on the Hoboken scooter controversy.

    “This company just provided toys that are played with (in traffic) to everyone with a smartphone/credit card,” Facebook user Allison Rose wrote. “Some people will never treat borrowed property with as much respect as they do their own belongings. Just because it can be shared, doesn’t mean it should!”

    allison rose comment

     

    “First day out, speeding guy on sidewalk almost took out my dog, Prada, when we reached the corner, and I had limited peripheral vision,” Facebook user Mary-Rose Ziemba wrote.

    mary rose ziemba comment

    Some were also sharing that while following traffic laws, it was nerve-wracking riding with cars. “Now that we got that out there, now let’s educate drivers on how to ride with folks on bikes and scooters. I was on the other side of the fence today riding one for the first time, and almost got run over obeying “said” traffic laws/suggestions,” said another user.

    hoboken scooter

    Others had a more comical take. “I heard the scooters were invented by Charles Darwin,” said Facebook user Mitch Melfi. Touché.

    hoboken scooter issue

    The City of Hoboken official Facebook page has been flooded with hundreds of comments echoing a similar sentiment. Some users stood in favor of the e-scooters, writing that people should give the program more of a chance.

    “It’s been three days people, jeez,” Facebook user Tatiana Ilnicki wrote. “Give this program a chance. There is a reason why it is successful in many national and international cities… There will always be people who want to ‘break’ the rules but this program is great for the town and I am truly happy to see it being used.”

    tatiana ilnicki comment

    “I would give it a few weeks to get the kinks out folks. It’s something different, which is always resisted at first. Give this a chance,” said Mike Galucci on Facebook.

    hoboken scooters

    Despite the preliminary hiccups, Police Chief Ferrante seems confident that it’s just a matter of working out the kinks.

    “There was a municipal ordinance passed on these in the city of Hoboken,” Ferrante added when interviewed. “But we still need statute numbers and penalties…We don’t believe in issuing summonses on Day 1. That is not something that’s going to be great for police-community relations. It’s about trying to educate.”

    scooters hoboken

    So, in the interest of educating, Hoboken Girl put together a how-to guide on all the e-scooter rules as how to not be an a$$hole while riding.

    {How cars respond though, remains to be seen — as we’ve seen some aggressive drivers out there on the other end of things behind scooters following the laws as well.}

    Not sure if you’ve already broken a rule? Fear not. Keep reading to learn all the rules about riding e-scooters in Hoboken:

    Rule #1: E-scooters must obey all official traffic control signals and signs.

    Essentially, people on scooters are a vehicle. {At least in the eyes of traffic signs and control signals!} E-scooters must stop at stop lights, stop signs, and obey all other traffic signals. Scooters must also stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

    Rule #2: No clinging.

    Riders of scooters can’t “cling” onto anything — including vehicles, people, or anything else in motion.

    Rule #3: Stick to the roads.

    Not the sidewalks. E-scooters are not permitted on any of the sidewalks in Hoboken. They are to be ridden in bicycle lanes and roads only. {BTW: Bicycles actually are legal to ride on the sidewalk, as long as you don’t go faster than a pedestrian’s pace. But the laws for scooters are different.

    Rule #4: Travel in the same direction of traffic.

    No brainer, but please, don’t go in the opposite direction. Even on one-way streets. IT’S NOT SAFE FOR ANYONE!

    lime scooter rules

    Rule #5: Don’t obstruct the public right of way when parking.

    Scooters are to be parked against the curb, a building, or in a designated parking area. They can also be parked and locked at bike racks. However, if a scooter is left unattended for seven days in the same spot, it will be considered abandoned. In no scenario should a parked scooter obstruct the public’s right of way.

    Rule #6: Abandoned scooters will be disposed of.

    As mentioned above, scooters that are parked and left unmoved for seven days will be considered abandoned. Scooters might also be considered abandoned if they have deflated tires, damaged or missing parts, if 75% of the scooter is rusted, or if it is found in “any other condition in which an electric scooter would be deemed abandoned.”

    Abandoned scooters will get an adhesive notice from the city’s Transportation and Parking Department. The owner then has 14 days to move the scooter before it is moved and disposed of. {Issue is, these are rentals, so we can see where there might be some issue here…}.

    Rule #7: E-scooters must have lights at night, though other equipment is limited.

    When riding at night, a light on the front and back of the e-scooter is necessary. But other additional equipment is not encouraged. As in, e-scooters are not allowed to have sirens or whistles. They can, however, have bells that ring to warn pedestrians.

    dog on scooter

    Rule #8: Both hands must be on the handlebars.

    Riders are not permitted to carry anything that keeps both their hands from holding the handlebars.

    Rule #9: Scooters cannot be rented on behalf of others.

    As in, you can’t rent a scooter for your friend. If you’re renting it, you’re riding it. And you must be 18 to do so.

    Rule #10: Scooters are not allowed on NJ Transit.

    NJ Transit made the official announcement: Scooters are not permitted on the Light Rail, buses, or trains.

    Rule #11: Riders must be 18 or older.

    It’s printed on the scooters in case there’s any question. And licenses are required.

    Have you tried an e-scooter in Hoboken yet?

    Do you have thoughts on the current scooter sitch?

    Let us know below!


    Written by:

    Steph Osmanski is a freelance writer who specializes in sustainability and health and wellness content. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Stony Brook Southampton.


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