City seeks more information on scooter pilot program

By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
March 12, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Visitors may soon have a new way to get around town.

The City of Tallahassee is considering an electric scooter pilot program. The commission did not take action on the idea last week and is instead requesting staff bring back more details on a potential pilot next month.

Four scooter companies have already submitted proposals for pilots in Tallahassee including Lime, Spin, Bird and Slidr. Two additional companies have also shown interest. However, the commission has a few concerns before moving forward, including safety and liability.

"We see how busy it is today. I can't imagine having motorized scooters interfacing with pedestrians on our sidewalks,” said City Commissioner Curtis Richardson.

He is also concerned about the state of some of the sidewalks in Tallahassee and how people would be able to operate the scooters on those sidewalks.

Currently, electric scooters are not allowed to be driven on sidewalks in Tallahassee. The commission would need to amend its ordinance to implement the pilot. Under state law, electric scooters cannot be driven on streets.

Considerations also include parking, charging methods, cost and more.

The idea is receiving mixed reviews in the community.

"They're really easy to use and they're really easy to rent. Plus, since it is new people are like, 'wow, what's that? Let me try it out,'” said FSU student Genesis Orellana.

Orellana is from Miami, which has scooters. She said she would likely use the scooters if they came to Tallahassee, especially to avoid parking on campus.

Nathaniel Johnson, who uses a Segway and electric car as his primary forms of transportation, said he is also supportive of the pilot.

"That would be a great idea. We do have citizens that are senior citizens and bikes don't quite get them what they need. But those electric scooters will get them around,” he said.

However, others are more hesitant.

"They tend to clog up sidewalks and streets. another thing is that they can go a lot faster than most bicycles,” said resident Lealand McCharen.

And, some feared for safety reasons.

"You've got the dogs walking, you got the people walking. Then you bring in the scooters. Then we're going to have a problem,” said resident Dennis Dubose.

The city implemented a similar pilot last year with Pace bicycles. That has since ended and the bikes and equipment have been removed from Tallahassee.

"It was an experience that just didn't work. They were being found all over the place,” said Richardson.

The parent company of Pace is also behind the company Spin, which has submitted a proposal for the pilot program. Richardson said if Spin were be selected, the company would also bring back the bikes. And, he said the issue with bikes being left all over would be addressed.

City staff will bring back more information in April.

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