Hot potatoes: Scooter sharing programs – a boon to public transport or an inconvenience and safety hazard? This was the question the Miami city official had to ask in his pocket Thursday night. Verdict: Security threat and harm. The City of Miami Commission voted against continuing the pilot program and ordered Lyft to remove all of its scooters from the streets of Miami by the end of the work week.
Miami, Florida has banned electric scooters. The measure, which went into effect immediately, was passed by the City of Miami Commission in a nearly unanimous 4-1 vote on Thursday. Vendors were given a blackout until midnight and 5:00 pm ET on Friday, November 19, to collect their scooters or the city will confiscate them.
“We’re closing it down,” Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla told the Miami Herald. “That’s all.”
Diaz de la Portilla was the deciding voice on this measure and has voted in the past to extend the scooter pilot program. However, the commissioner said his opinion changed after hearing from residents. The main argument against electric two-wheelers was safety considerations.
“On Biscayne Boulevard, at any time of the day, you see children on these scooters,” said Diaz de la Portilla, who led the attempt to destroy the program. “This is an accident waiting in the wings.”
Another tipping point – scooters litter sidewalks, creating obstacles for pedestrians due to the lack of docking stations.
A Lyft spokeswoman said it was disappointed with the commission’s decision and hoped Miami Mayor Francis Suarez would reverse the decision.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Commission’s hasty and short-sighted action to end the scooter program, depriving the safe and popular form of transportation used by thousands of Miami residents every day, and laying off dozens of workers in the week before Thanksgiving,” said Caroline Samponaro, Lyft’s vice president of policy in transportation, bicycles and scooters. “We were comforted to hear earlier today from the Mayor of Suarez, in which he described scooters as a valuable asset to cities. We hope he will speak to the Commission on behalf of Miami residents and visitors to stop this action.” …
Despite the immediate ban, the program does not stand still. City officials are developing rules for an ongoing scooter program. Once completed, they will send instructions to the city commission for approval. If all goes according to plan, starting in January, Miami will begin to hear applications from suppliers.
Miami is not the first city to ban scooter sharing. In 2019, Nashville outlawed them after a rider was killed in a traffic accident while intoxicated. At the time, Nashville was running pilot programs for seven different scooter companies, including Lime, Lyft, Spin, Gotcha, Bird, Bolt, and Jump. Scooters in Florida have been cleaned many times during storms for fear of being deadly projectiles.