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Disability activist sues Minneapolis, scooter companies over sidewalk access

He says they present a hazard to disabled sidewalk users.

A disability advocate has filed a lawsuit against the City of Minneapolis and two e-scooter companies, claiming the proliferation of rental scooters is putting disabled people at risk.

Noah McCourt, who has autism and developmental coordination disorder, says he "fears for his safety because every day he is dodging scooters traveling at high speeds down the sidewalk."

The users of rental scooters in Minneapolis are supposed to either use bike paths or roadways to get around, with sidewalk use only permitted when they're parking.

McCourt also says that he's encountered scooters being left strewn across sidewalks on several occasions, causing him to almost trip .

The lawsuit has been filed against City of Minneapolis and two scooter companies, Lime and Bird. Bird no longer operates in Minneapolis, but did have its scooters here last year.

McCourt accuses the city and the companies have failed to "maintain the accessibility of the City’s public sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks and transit stops for people with disabilities, in the face of an onslaught of unregulated dockless scooters."

After a trial period last year, the number of scooters permitted in Minneapolis increased for this summer, with Lime, Lyft and Spin all operating in the city.

Scooter riders must follow the same road laws as cyclists: they can't ride on sidewalks and must leave the scooters parked upright out of the way of pedestrians.

In its first season of operation, the City of Minneapolis said there were only 4 crashes involving rentable scooters last year, along with 9 "near-misses."

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But McCourt contends that they nonetheless present access problems for those in wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and with impaired movement.

He's alleging that the scooter companies and the city are violating the Americans s with Disabilities Act and the state anti-discrimination laws.

He is seeking an order banning scooter companies from operating on public walkways and denying access to disabled residents.

“When Donald Trump comes to town, the entire city comes out to protest in the streets about Civil rights but when People with disabilities simply want to be access public service there's an overwhelming silence from those who loudly profess their progressive values," said McCourt, who says he has reached out to the city in an attempt to address this, but has received little response.

"We have a right to use the city sidewalks just like everyone else who lives or visits here."

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