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Front Page » Communities » Miami’s scooter pilot program walks a tightrope

Miami’s scooter pilot program walks a tightrope

Written by on December 17, 2019
Miami’s scooter pilot program walks a tightrope

The City of Miami’s scooter pilot program has once again been extended, this time to mid-February, with its long-term future still up in the air.

Chairman Ken Russell, the district commissioner for the scooter pilot, again asked his fellow commissioners to extend the pilot while the administration hashes out a solicitation for proposals. While the legislation had originally called for a four-month extension, the city commission passed a resolution that will lengthen the pilot through Feb. 14, after Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla suggested a shorter extension.

Mr. Russell told commissioners who have opposed the pilot that if by the end of the extension the “administration has not implemented the amendments that were put in place at the first extension that should be alleviating the problems you’re feeling, we will stop this program.”

Among the safety measures he said he has yet to see implemented are scooters with identification numbers, stopping the scooters from going into other districts, and hub locations for the scooters that were to be designated by the city’s Public Works and Parks departments.

But what could very well be the major threat for the pilot is underage scooter usage, which Mr. Russell acknowledged remains a problem. He has asked for the administration to work out a way to impose a $100 fine for parents who are caught allowing their children to ride the scooters.

“We need an education campaign, of which we have plenty of money in this fund now to fund that education campaign if necessary, that says ‘no kids on scooters’ because parents still don’t even know that it’s illegal,” Mr. Russell said, adding, “we need an education campaign on how to report bad scooter usage.”

In a brief exchange that evidenced how repetitive the scooter discussions have gotten, Commissioner Manolo Reyes said to Mr. Russell that he knows that he doesn’t want him to talk about the pilot, to which Mr. Russell jokingly replied, “I really don’t.”

Mr. Reyes has consistently voiced opposition to the pilot, saying the scooters are unsafe and are being used by children. The scooter pilot currently does not operate in his district.

“I’m going to go along with the extension,” Mr. Reyes said. “But better do something about it that I don’t see it in the middle of the streets, that I don’t see it blocking the sidewalks, that I don’t see them riding and where the pedestrians that they are using the sidewalks they have to jump out of their way or if not they are going to be hurt.”

Currently restricted to District 2, scooter riding can be seen in Coconut Grove, Brickell, Downtown Miami and other neighborhoods. Revenue from the scooter pilot results in additional funds for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in District 2, with the first fully funded lane having debuted this year.

5 Responses to Miami’s scooter pilot program walks a tightrope

  1. C

    December 18, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Missed the headline opportunity “Miami’s scooter pilot program walks a Razor’s edge”

  2. Anna Louise Fulks

    December 19, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Had two scooters left in my home driveway in the Gables. Called the CG police and they sent an Officer to remove them from my property. Was told that a company picks up scooters during the night that had been left in various areas of he City. So far we’ve had (5) scooters left on private property on my block in the Gables.

  3. Peter S,

    December 19, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    The e-scooters are a tremendous hazard along Brickell Avenue. The e-scooters traveling in the wrong direction on sidewalks at high speed cross in front of cars trying to cross streets to enter traffic. The e-scooters travel so fast that by the time you look left-right-left, when you begin crossing the road there is a scooter in front of you.

    It is just a matter of time before there is a fatality along Brickell Av. Please stop the insanity!!

  4. Ken Hart

    December 20, 2019 at 11:44 am

    The scooters have to go! All you need to do is walk to Bayfront Park on Sunday night and see how parents are encouraging their children to ride the scooters. They also allow multiple, young children on the scooters at the same time. This is an incredibly dangerous situation that needs to be addressed by banning scooters in Miami. They block sidewalks, people do not obey the rules and they pose an imminent threat to pedestrians. Recently, while I was walking across Brickell Avenue bridge the bridge was up and as soon as it came down and The pedestrian lanes opened, scooters were flying at the group of pedestrians who were also there trying to cross the bridge. Users aren’t slowing down on sidewalks and couldn’t care less about pedestrians; they believe they have the right of way. This is unacceptable!

  5. James Hawkins

    December 20, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    E-scooters need to be banned in Miami. They are a hazard not only to their users but also to everyone that uses the sidewalks. Users commonly do not exercise anything remotely close to good judgment as they weave, at speed, between pedestrians, not bothering at all to slow down as they pass areas where pedestrians might be entering the sidewalk. They go too fast. A pedestrian walks at 4 mph, if walking briskly. E-scooters can go as fast as 20 mph, which is too fast to have mixed in with pedestrians. If you could throttle them back to 5 mph, they might be fine, but then they’d be of no use. The better option is simply to ban them. Austin Texas tracked injuries in 2018, finding an annualized rate of 1084 injuries – 1084! That is nuts! We give tickets for not wearing a seat belt, yet a mode of transportation that may cause a couple hundred (Miami is bigger, more active, and e-scooters are now more actively used) injuries a month is allowed? Just ban them. It is also worth noting that the places e-scooters are generally used the most is in higher density areas, area served by public transportation options.