Seattle may scoot ahead with a new pilot program after all. 

The Seattle City Council officially opened conversations about adding electric scooters to the multimodal system. The city had previously put the brakes on scooter-sharing

Councilmember Mike O’Brien hosted a forum Thursday, brimming with excitement. "I'm ready to do everything the Council can to make this a mobility option as soon as possible,” he said Thursday. O’Brien and Councilmember Abel Pacheco led a show-and-tell prior to the forum. 

Multiple vendors are interested in the Seattle market, including Bird and Lime. O’Brien sees them as a compliment to the existing bike and car sharing programs, not as a replacement.

On Wednesday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan cautiously signaled her support, noting concerns about safety. Cities like Dallas saw a spike in emergency room visits related to the scooters. In Portland, a pilot program showed issues with sidewalk parking, and many people riding without a helmet. 

O’Brien said he doesn’t believe a user would need a helmet to ride the e-scooters. “There are head injuries from people in cars, and we don't require people in cars to wear helmets,” he said. 

Pacheco was more firm, saying helmets should be mandated. He also addressed the sidewalk issue. "My preference is for more people to ride them in bike lanes.”  

Durkan said in the coming weeks, the city will draft a pilot permit for scooter-share companies and will work with stakeholders over the next few months to develop the pilot program. Various discussion points will include areas and hours of use, speed, helmet requirements, and fines and enforcement.

Anna Zivarts, Program Director for Rooted In Rights, said the city should consider people with mobility issues. “We shouldn't be taking space away from pedestrians on the sidewalk." She said Seattle continues to struggle managing the free-floating bike share, and that bikes already litter the sidewalks and block ramp access. 

Tacoma recently added e-scooters, and found that more people were using them instead of the bikes. In fact, the bike-sharing program was quickly phased out. 

RELATED: Bird joins Lime deploying scooter share in Tacoma

Seattle is just beginning to craft legislation for a pilot e-scooter program, just as it did with bikes. 

Durkan said in the coming weeks, the city will draft a pilot permit for scooter-share companies and will work with stakeholders over the next few months to develop the pilot program. Various discussion points will include areas and hours of use, speed, helmet requirements, and fines and enforcement.