ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) Atlanta Police say they are ready to enforce new regulations around e-scooters in the city.
The Atlanta City Council passed a new ordinance in hopes of preventing injuries and traffic congestion on the e-scooters, but APD decided not to enforce it immediately.
After months of leniency, the police department rolled out a public service announcement outlining the do’s and don’ts of e-scooter use in Atlanta.
At the beginning of their shifts this week, APD officers were given educational flyers to pass out to riders. During roll call Tuesday, APD Major Darin Schierbaum spoke to a small group of officers about how to distribute the flyers.
“Get their attention and let them come to you and hand them the flyer,” Schierbaum told the group. “If you could each come in with about four or five a day, right there that’s 20 people we’ve educated today,” he told the officers Thursday.
Violations can carry a fine up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. Atlanta Police tell CBS46, they do not set the fine amounts, but they doubt courts will issue severe punishments for scooter violations. Either way, the department wanted to launch an awareness campaign first.
“We thought that giving people a period where they could understand the law and what it says was really important before we began enforcement,” said Atlanta Police Spokesperson Carlos Campos. “We’re trying to warn people first. We’re not after money, we’re not after seeing people go to jail. We’re after compliance,” he added.
The biggest issues have emerged from people riding on sidewalks and people laying the scooter in the middle of walkways. The poorly placed e-scooters and riding practices have caused several people to be injured.
“People were leaving them strewn on the sidewalks, tossed in parking lots, just anywhere they saw fit,” Campos told CBS46. “We need to stop that. We need them out of the way of the flow of traffic. We need them out of the way of the flow of pedestrian traffic. We need them placed neatly somewhere that’s not blocking anything.”
To help spread the word, police have also rolled out a public service video explaining the rules.
Aside from sidewalk riding being prohibited, riders can’t use a cell phones while riding. They also cannot ride with another person on the scooter. When parking, scooters should not block crosswalks, doorways, driveways, loading zones, or other parking spaces. They should be parked upright, and at a regular bike rack at possible. E-scooters are not allowed at Relay bike racks, which are already marked for those bikes only.
Marissa Mandedlove is a scooter rider in Atlanta.
“I think it’s great that they want to inform people first because a lot of people don’t know the news laws,” Mandeldove said, adding that she didn’t know the rules.
She says she has come close to having accidents with scooters before when people have been texting and riding.
“You could lose your life if you don’t take it as serious as getting a ticket,” Mandeldove told CBS46. "Maybe those laws will help save lives. I don’t like tickets personally, but maybe it’s for the better," she added.
The Atlanta Police Department tells CBS46 it has already issued at least two citations for scooter violations that were in conjunction with other infractions.