Miami Electric Scooter Ban Lifted

Tomas Curcio, Staff Writer

On Nov. 29, the Miami City Commission voted 3-1 to revive the e-scooter pilot program they banned only ten days prior.

Electric scooters return to the streets of Miami on Jan. 15, but the city has required the implementation of major safety measures to push back against previous concerns. 

The new regulations require that riders must wear a personally-owned helmet, cannot ride faster than 10 miles per hour while on sidewalks, cannot ride side-by-side and must always ride single-file. In addition, providers are restricted to two stations per block, a contrast to a previous four-station limit.

These new measures are in addition to already-existing ones, including an age minimum of 18, ownership of a driver’s license and having only one person ride the scooter at a time.

The Miami commissioners derided the large number of young adults utilizing the program, labeling them as future accidents and criticizing how users scatter them across sidewalks, creating hazards for pedestrians. 

Scooters have been pulled from streets in the past. In 2019, when Hurricane Dorian approached Miami, the city ordered all scooters to be removed from the streets and only returned once the hurricane had passed due to the possibility that they would become flying projectiles. 

The Miami e-scooter pilot program originally began in 2018, with nine private operators given permission to operate: Baus, Bird, Bolt, Helbiz, Jump, Lime, Lyft, Spin and Wheels. The program currently has a fleet of 3,957 scooters.

Since then, Miami has become the city with the most electric scooters in the U.S. The program has brought in $2.4 million for the city, which the government reinvested into new bike lanes.

Similar situations have occurred in other electric scooter capitals of the U.S.. In 2019, in Nashville a city that, at one point, had up to 4,000 scooters on the streets a 26-year-old intoxicated man died when his scooter collided with a vehicle; after a vocal outcry from the family of the man, the city’s mayor sought to eliminate their entire scooter program.

While this did not actually occur due to pushback from the city council, Nashville implemented new, strict safety measures to prevent future tragedies.

Miami has not yet experienced an incident similar to the one that occurred in Nashville, but government officials are still concerned about the possibility. Despite this worry, the city still allows residents to freely scooter around the city as long as riders follow their rules.