State law allows motorized skateboards [MCL 257.657] to operate much like bicycles; e.g. in bike lanes, on roads and sidewalks. They are required to follow the same laws while on the roadway. They are not allowed on streets where the speed limit is above 25 MPH [MCL 257.660].
As with bicycles, pedestrians always have the right-of-way on sidewalks. Reduce your speed when operating near pedestrians and bicyclists.
Motorized electric scooters are available to use through phone apps provided by their respective vendor. Currently, Michigan’s definition for motorized skateboards [MCL 257.13f] includes motorized scooters as well.
Scooters on the RiverWalk
The Detroit Riverfront Conservancy has posted signs restricting scooters from some portions of the Detroit RiverWalk such as Cullen Plaza. Some scooters will automatically govern their speed when on the RiverWalk. This is to reduce conflicts in the higher-use pedestrian areas.
Scooters on Belle Isle
State law allows the DNR to regulate them on “all lands under its control,” such as Milliken State Park and non-road portions of Belle Isle. However, the roads and adjacent sidewalks on Belle Isle are state trunklines and under MDOT’s control per the lease agreement with Detroit. MDOT does not have the authority to regulate motorized scooters on their roads.
Scooter Parking in Detroit
Common sense and courtesy should be paramount when parking shared scooters in public spaces.
State law extends bicycling parking requirements and rights to motorized scooters. You can legally park scooters in vehicle parking spaces on streets.
Section 50-2-1 of the Detroit code requires that they avoid obstructing public streets, sidewalks and other public spaces.
The city of Detroit has determined that they should be parked in the sidewalk “furniture zone” which is outside of the main pedestrian travel area. They should always allow six feet of clearance on the sidewalk and should be parked upright. They should not be parked in the roadway, bike lanes, construction zones, or on landscaped areas (including lawns).
They also should not be parked within five feet of any crosswalk, bike rack, fire hydrant, manhole cover, drinking fountain, public art, driveway, ADA ramp, disabled parking space, parking pay station, etc. They should not be within 10 feet of a building entrance or within 30 feet of a bus stop.
- Summer scooter curfew established for downtown Detroit riders, Detroit Free Press, May 2022
- A fifth e-scooter brand just landed in Detroit, Detroit Free Press, August 2021
- Understanding micromobility safety behavior and standardizing safety metrics for transportation system integration, Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety, August 2019.
- New Codes for New Modes: HSRC researchers develop a new way to categorize injuries related to micromobility devices, HSRC, Volume 2019, Issue 2.
- The City of Detroit, SharedStreets, and NACTO to Pilot New Data Standard for Dockless Mobility, NACTO, October 2018
- Scooters, City of Detroit Department of Public Works. Includes discount information.