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Some cities make money from e-scooters while Cedar Rapids doesn’t

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 8:41 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The city of Cedar Rapids has said it doesn’t any make money off the electric scooters around the city. But, our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team found some cities make thousands of dollars from electric scooter companies.

Three electric scooter companies paid the city of Columbia, Missouri, a $10,000 regulatory fee along with a $1 ridership fee for each vehicle every day.

Locally, Cedar Rapids only gets paid if VeoRide, a Chicago-based company, finds an advertising sponsorship. If that happens, Cedar Rapids would receive 20% of the profit from the advertising sponsorship.

The city of Cedar Rapids paid VeoRide $65,000 to offset lost revenue from delaying putting out scooters and bikes. Our KCRG-TV9 i9 Investigative Team wanted to ask the city a few questions about the contract. But, haven’t gotten the chance because of the holiday. We plan on asking those questions throughout the week.

In June, two boys under the age of 12 were injured while riding a scooter on the city’s southeast side. Officials said they hit a car on Mount Vernon Road SE and received life-threatening injuries. Although both lived, the crash sparked a conversation about safety in Cedar Rapids since people under the age of 18 are not allowed to ride a scooter. The city of Cedar Rapids said it was looking into ways to make sure people riding the scooters were at least 18-years-old.

Data from the city of Cedar Rapids said people reported scooter accidents or falls around 32 times since 2020. Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids said on Tuesday electric scooters are increasing traumatic injuries. VEO told TV9 in June the company pulls about six scooters every week out of a local river. A 16-year-old boy was charged and arrested with fifth-degree criminal mischief after police said he threw a scooter into the river.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department also cited 17 people in an hour for riding scooters, bikes, and skateboards on the sidewalks, a $600 fine.

Diane Drahos, who lives in Cedar Rapids, said the electronic scooters on the sidewalk make it harder for her to walk the city because she has a walker.

“I can’t kinda get around and I’m afraid of falling down,” Drahos said. ”Because if I have to go on the grass or uneven ground, I have a great disability and I might slip and fall.”

Drahos said she believes the city of Cedar Rapids could use their dollars better than paying money to electric scooter companies.

“Why aren’t we not trying to help out our needy people that really need the help here?” Drahos said. “Instead of bringing scooters, that’s not doing any good and just making an eyesore.”

However, many people are using electric scooters. More than 45,395 rides happened on an electric scooter in 2020, as of August.

Here’s the full contract:

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