Bird scooters. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
Earlier this week the city passed new rules regulating scooter use.
Bird, Lime, Jump and other electronic electric scooters that are scattered throughout the city will now be banned on sidewalks, according to the ordinance passed Monday. The scooters will now only be allowed on streets, bike lanes and shared-use paths.
Additionally, companies will be required to pay a $12,000 annual fee for a 500-scooter fleet, with an additional $50 paid per additional scooter, according to the ordinance. A 15 mile-per-hour speed limit will be enforced, and companies will be responsible for educating riders on proper parking, operations and helmet usage.
Companies operating scooters will also need to have a plan for sustainability measures when disposing of broken down scooters, the ordinance indicates.
The new rules focus mainly on the companies that operate the fleets, placing the responsibility for safe riding habits on them, rather than riders themselves according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. There are no fines for riders who ignore the recommendations.
To develop the ordinance, Atlanta took into consideration similar measures passed in Seattle, Chicago and San Francisco, the AJC reports. Since hitting city streets in the spring and summer of last year, the dockless scooters have been lauded and lambasted. Some say they cut down on traffic by providing more mobility options, others argue they restrict access to businesses by crowding sidewalks and are a nuance to pedestrians.
Not everyone is convinced the new regulations will help scooter-pedestrian relations. Rebecca Serna, executive director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, said scooter riders will continue to use sidewalks because the city streets are in such a state of ill repair, and aren’t welcoming to any vehicles besides cars. “They are going to do it on the sidewalks as long as they don’t feel safe in the streets,” she told the AJC.