ATHENS, Ga. - On the heels of the first home Saturday, UGA issued a warning to all faculty, students and staff that anyone who rides those increasingly-popular motorized scooters on sidewalks will face a hefty fine.
The motorized scooters, with a "pay as you go" option via an app, have popped up on streets in neighborhoods in the Metro, many cities nationwide and even Athens. The new mode of transportation in urban areas has caused headaches for law enforcement over how people ride them on roadways or even on sidewalks.
An email from UGA stated, "For the University of Georgia, the primary concern with increased scooter traffic is safety—safety for those riding the scooters and for bystanders who might be hit by them or whose path might be impeded by an abandoned scooter.
"Because of the University’s grave concerns about the risks posed by the unsafe operation of scooters and the potential for tragic consequences, beginning Friday, Aug. 31, the UGA Police Department will begin enforcing Georgia Law for scooters on sidewalks and violations of related Georgia traffic code on public streets (O.C.G.A. 40-6-144).
"Specifically, O.C.G.A. 40-6-144 states: 'No person shall drive any vehicle upon a sidewalk or sidewalk area except upon a permanent or duly authorized driveway,'" the email explained.
Athens-Clarke County Police said riding on sidewalks around the county is also illegal; officers are warning people for ow, but will start enforcing laws soon. County officials are investigating if riding scooters in roadways may be illegal as well, police said.