ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Several people came to Atlanta City Hall pleading before the Atlanta City Council to change the rules around scooters, in hopes of keeping riders and drivers safe.
ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Thirty-four-year-old Amber Ford was in town from Alabama with her hu…
Andrew Harding took a break from his job to ask City Council to keep e-scooters in the city, but to make things safer for riders.
“I don't have a car,” Harding told CBS46. “I haven't had a car for 3.5 years. I don't have a car for a family of two. We have two careers and safe streets are important to me,” Harding said.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order two weeks ago banning any new e-scooter permits from being signed. Monday night, Atlanta City Council member Carla Smith introduced legislation to repeal the Department of City Planning’s authority to issue permits for e-scooters. The legislation allows operators that were granted permits prior to Aug. 19, 2019 to continue to operate until the permit expires.
"Given the serious effects these devices have on our infrastructure, public safety, and quality of life, the City cannot allow this rapidly growing industry to move faster than our ability to regulate it," said Mayor Bottoms. "In the coming weeks, this administration will introduce a larger solution to keep our streets safe for all of transportation -- including scooters, cars, bikes and wheelchairs -- and ensure greater equity in mobility."
The city of Atlanta has implemented a moratorium on the issuing of permits for scooter companies.
“We have to rethink the ban on scooters and bikes not being allowed on sidewalks,” an attorney Bruce Hagen told the council members. “There are times when it's safer to ride on sidewalks,” he went on.
Council president Felicia Moore told CBS46 that she does not anticipate an all-out ban on scooters, but does believe changes are imminent.
“What I'm encouraging them to do is to look at this further and to come up with some ways to either help make sure that they can integrate into our system or whether or not they need to ban them in some way or ask people not to use them at night or change speeds in some way,” Moore said. “I received a plethora of ideas and suggestions that can make them work. It's just a matter of us having those public discussions making the policy match that.”
Lime e-scooter representatives told CBS46 that they want to create a path forward with the city.
Nima Daivari, Lime's Community Affairs Manager for Georgia, said Atlanta’s ordinance has some good components, but will need to be updated to fit the current e-scooter landscape.
“When the city of Atlanta adopted its ordinance and regulations, there were only two companies operating in Atlanta, Lime and Bird,” said Daivari. “Now, I believe there are nine different companies and the world has maybe 40 to 50 scooter companies as well, so capping the number of operators in a city seems to be something that works for most if not all cities,” Daivari said.
He said Lime encourages riders to wear helmets.
“We’ve given away 250,00 helmets through our “Respect the Ride” campaign,” Daivari said. “In Atlanta, I give away helmets I do about two monthly activations with 15 to 20 minutes of free ride time for free for anyone who wants to attend. We hold one in Decatur and one Atlanta once every month and we give away a helmet for people that attend.”
Still some residents told council, helmets would not have helped the last three accident victims. They want protected lanes, more discretion for riders to choose where they ride, and slower traffic.
Smith’s legislation will be sent to the council’s transportation committee. It will meet at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14 at Atlanta City Hall.