City approves scooter sharing pilot program

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 15, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Despite some commissioners raising concerns about safety, the Tallahassee City Commission unanimously agreed to allow a pilot program for motorized scooters to begin on July 15.

Due to state legislation, City Manager Reese Goad urged the City to act on Wednesday, and Mayor John Dailey agreed.

"Without action today, it will be a free for all," said Dailey.

Mayor Dailey questioned whether universities would be frustrated by the "geo-fencing" technology of scooters.

When a rider takes a motorized scooter out of a certain area, the scooter will turn off and not move. Universities would be in those geo-fenced areas, and Mayor Dailey worried about scooters left all over campus.

"Let's all work together on this issue," said Dailey.

Another concern was where to ride scooters, whether they should only be in bicycle lanes on the streets, or on the sidewalks when there are no lanes.

Dailey said he is "extremely concerned about our infrastructure," and asked the City Attorney about liability if a rider hurts him or herself.

He also questioned who would enforce the no scooters on the sidewalk rule, not wanting to waste TPD time. Mayor Dailey cited concerns about students, alcohol, and scooters.

Mayor Dailey urged commissioners to delay the pilot program to August, when students would be back in town. He argued this would give a truer representation of what the program will be like with students.

Commissioner Diane Williams Cox disagreed, wanting to finish the pilot program before "the craziness" of football season.

The motion did not come without concern for some members.

Commissioner Elaine Bryant questioned whether staff members would have enough information at the end of the program to make an educated decision about parameters.

Commissioners Curtis Richardson and Diane Williams Cox also cited personal experience riding scooters; both said they were difficult to control and worried about their use on sidewalks.

The program will begin on July 15, the original proposed date.

In addition, all items on the May 15th consent agenda were approved.

Those included a $125,000 settlement with Kristan and Derrick Reshard after a 2016 accident due to an obstructed stop sign, a grant for a water tower in the Northwest, and an update from StarMetro on proposed route changes.

Tallahassee received $300,000 last year in a grant, partially funding the water tower. The entire project will cost 2.7 million dollars, and double the water storage capacity in that area to 1 million gallons. The Commission authorized the City Manager to move forward with the grant.

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