The city of Tallahassee has created a test run of an electric scooter rental service for city residents. The program offers 999 scooters to be rented by members of the community. Similar to programs in other cities, the scooters are rented out by using an app to unlock the scooter and then use it. Each ride is paid for by the app-user. The app created for it is also going to have instructions for operation and how to safely use the vehicles. Presently in the State of Florida you cannot use electronic scooters on sidewalks roads and bike lanes. However, Tallahassee city commission passed a local ordinance to allow these electronic scooters to be used on Tallahassee sidewalks.
Benefits of the E-Scooter?
Some of the potential benefits to this type of program is that electronic scooters have less of a learning curve than a bicycle. The article Almost 1,000 E-Scooters Will Be Coming To Tallahassee talks about these issues and how people are reacting to this and recent legislation regarding reclassifying where the electronic scooters can be driven. According to the article, the e-scooters can only reach 15 miles per hour. Due to recent legislation, e-scooters can be treated the same as bikes if regulated by local governments. This means the scooters can ride on roads, sidewalks, and bicycle lanes. “We will present an ordinance to the city commission that would lay out how and where e-scooters could be allowed in our community. That will have a first reading, and then there will be a public hearing on that, and then on the June 19th Commission meeting a staff suggested list of vendors will be presented and the commission will be able to vote on that,” Christesen said.
One interesting fact is that the state of Florida has a very broad definition of Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Florida’s laws prohibit not only driving normal cars under the influence, but any type of vehicle you can drive, even if it is powered by human muscles such as bikes, boats, and even horses. The penalties and fines may not be as severe, but there is still potential for serious even life-threatening injuries even if the mode of transport is not as powerful as a car. In the State of Florida there have not been arrests made due to drunk scooter drivers, but one can assume those arrests are coming.
Opposition to E-Scooters
Some people are opposed to this form of transportation as they have concerns of an increase in accidents caused by electronic scooters. One article titled Lobby up: Scooter skirmish hits Sunshine State regarding some individuals opposition to scooter sharing states, “The industry has hit a number of roadblocks over its short history…Due to the lack of regulations, scooter companies enter new markets with little warning, taking communities and consumers by surprise…other markets have soundly rejected the bikes. Last week, the city of Norfolk, Va., impounded 560 of Bird’s scooters and slapped them with $93,000 in fines for “operating in [the cities] jurisdiction without permission.”
Norfolk isn’t the only local government to take drastic measures. Santa Cruz, Stillwater and Virginia Beach have done the same and some higher-ed campuses, such as the University of Georgia in Athens, have reacted similarly. Ordinances such as those regarding helmets and eye protection, have caused scooter companies to run afoul of the law in other cities. That concern is also significant for liability reasons — a large number of e-scooter riders have ended up in emergency rooms, sometimes due to equipment failures.
Have you or someone you know been arrested while on an E-Scooter? Contact an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney at Pumphrey Law Firm to fight for you and protect your rights!
Attorney Don Pumphrey, Jr. is a former prosecutor, former law enforcement officer, and a successful and experienced criminal defense attorney. Don has achieved over 100 not guilty verdicts at trial and over 2,000 dismissals.