Why there were big piles of scooters in downtown Austin during SXSW

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Scooters of every brand were piled high in downtown Austin over the weekend. It wasn’t modern art, but rather Austin police officers’ efforts to keep portions of the city pedestrian-friendly during South By Southwest.

During certain times of the evening, areas along Sixth Street, Red River Street and Rainey street became “pedestrian-only” zones, which this year for the first time included not allowing e-scooters.

At some point, APD had to close down those streets, and according to the Austin Transportation Department, officers likely gathered the scooters already on the streets and piled them so the companies could pick them up. 

Assistant Chief Justin Newsom said ahead of SXSW that “It would be extremely rare for a person to get a citation for coming into the enclosure, especially if they comply with the request to dismount and stop the scooter. If they refuse that, then for sure we’ll take enforcement action.”

KXAN reached out to the city to look into how many people received citations related to scooters during SXSW. However, the Municipal Court  said it has no specific charge associated with scooters so it can’t provide an accurate number of citations.

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