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UPDATE: Electric Scooters have Arrived in Orlando: What You Need to Know

Courtesy City of Orlando

Update 1/1:

Electric scooters have officially arrived on the streets of Orlando. They are part of the city’s year-long pilot program. Read more about the safety measures City officials put in place below.

Update 12/10:

At their regular meeting, the Orlando City Commission unanimously passed a modified ordinance to launch the pilot program for electric scooters.

The program allows companies to operate a fleet of 200 scooters, later up to 400. Vendors can now begin submitting applications for a permit.

The pilot begins January 2, 2020, and the City says you can expect to see electric scooters on the street later that month.

Electric scooters are a trend we’ve seen popping up all over the country, and soon they’ll populate the streets of Orlando. In June, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill legalizing electric scooters across the state. The Orlando City Commission voted earlier this month to bring a fleet of them to the City Beautiful as part of a pilot program.

We know there’s a lot of mixed feelings over electric scooters—excitement, anticipation, concern for safety of riders and others on the sidewalk. We wanted to help clarify some of the confusion surrounding the vehicles, so here are “just the facts, ma’am.”

Portland Bureau of Transportation hosted several scooter safety classes when they brought electric scooters to their city.

While state lawmakers legalized electric scooters, they left much of their regulation up to the individual municipalities. Orlando’s ordinance allows each scooter company to send a fleet of 200-400 scooters, with a total limit of 1,800 scooters in the city.

The scooters will operate similarly to the current bike share programs. Users will download an app, and use it to unlock the scooter and relock it when they’re finished. Most companies will charge an initial fee, then an additional fee per minute.

“The No. 1 goal is safety,” said Billy Hattaway, Orlando’s Transportation Director and the Board Chair of Bike/Walk Central Florida. In an interview with Orlando Weekly, Hattaway referenced a University of Texas report that found roughly half of first-time scooter users crash. In response, Orlando’s ordinance requires the companies to limit scooter speeds to 10 mph and provide liability insurance. Companies must also provide safety courses, including ones that specifically target first-time users.

Hattaway worked to limit the places where companies can stage scooters. For example, none are allowed at the Pulse site and “You Mattered” mural.

Scooter riders in Portland, OR.

Though the City Commission voted unanimously in favor of the pilot program on a first vote in November, some commissioners still have reservations. Commissioner Patty Sheehan said she was “not terribly thrilled with them.” She told the Orlando Sentinel she has concerns about public safety, like increased collisions with pedestrians and people parking scooters so that they block sidewalks and handicap ramps.

More than 15 companies have hit up the City Beautiful about adding scooters, according to Hattaway. Should the pilot pass the second vote in December, companies can start applying to bring their fleets to town. It will cost $5,000 for companies to apply.

According to Hattaway, the city will use profits from electric scooters on safety measures and city infrastructure.

Scooter safety resources:

Lime Safety

How to Ride a Lime Scooter

Lime Customers get 50% off Bern Helmets

Bird Safety

Bird Safety Report – April 2019

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