Motorized scooter companies offer safety tips to Tallahassee residents

Published: Jul. 17, 2019 at 5:25 PM EDT
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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News

July 17, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Riders of all ages are utilizing the 1,000 scooters around Tallahassee.

Multiple companies are providing safety warnings for people utilizing the e-scooters.

"You have to take it seriously, you need to ride safely. These are not toys, they're a mode of transportation," explained Gotcha CEO and Founder Sean Flood.

Gotcha, as well as other companies, is focused on protecting its riders.

"Any time we can put a helmet on somebody's head, it helps," said Flood.

Gotcha is focused on the stability of its scooters, utilizing bigger wheels and baseboards.

Andrew Miles, the southeast regional manager for VeoRide, also offered safety tips.

"Ease into it, you don't have to go 0 to 15 instantly," said Miles. "Using the brakes wisely, as in, don't try to slam on them if you're going down the hill."

VeoRide's Terms of Service include a liability waiver for riders.

"You've acknowledged that you're a competent scooter rider, that you fee confident in your abilities to ride that scooter, and you assume responsibility for any accidents you may have while riding that scooter," said Miles.

All companies are reminding riders of the one person per scooter rule, and asking that riders keep two hands on the handlebars at all times.

"Do not text while riding," said Miles.

Aside from saving the selfies for later, there is another important safety concern: drinking alcohol and using e-scooters.

According to TPD, you can be charged with a DUI if operating a motorized scooter while impaired.

"Just like how cars have rules of where you can ride, the speed limits you should go, and where you should park, scooters and bikes should have the exact same thing," said Flood.

Spin scooters also released a statement on safety, saying, "In Tallahassee, we will have a hybrid model for our operations with both W-2 employees and a 1099 charger network. Our team of W-2 staff manage our main warehouse and deployment operations. These people include drivers, operations specialists, and mechanics -- all part of the critical team that ensures safe deployment of vehicles on the streets."

Spin also wrote in an e-mail to WCTV: "With this model, we’ll have the ability to train and directly manage employees, ensuring that they’re abiding by uniform processes. There are also clear reporting lines and communication channels, so field employees can ask questions or escalate issues and receive a prompt response. This is in addition to a safety protocol which allows operations staff to report issues or concerns through an anonymous tip-line to Spin’s safety team."

Scooters on campus

One of the five e-scooter companies in Tallahassee has already been in business in the city since 2009.

Gotcha was founded in Tallahassee in 2009 as a ride sharing partnership with FSU. The company created low speed electric vehicles called "gotcha rides."

The company has since designed bikes, scooters, and a trike. The CEO, Sean Flood, is an FSU alum.

Flood hopes the university may allow the scooters on campus eventually, saying the company hopes to create mobility hubs where people can park scooters.

"The challenge is a lot of the riders will be students from the 3 universities, they'll be starting trips off campus and they'll want to, rightfully so, go to campus. I think what we have to figure out in the short-term is, where can students stop, where do they park them safely," said Flood.

Gotcha plans to invest in brand ambassadors to stop students as they enter university areas and educate them on where they can park the scooters safely.

Employees of the company will be collecting the scooters after 11:00 p.m. each evening to recharge and redistribute in the morning.

Other companies, including Spin and VeoRide, also told WCTV they hope to be able to partner with the universities in the future.