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(Photo : Unsplash/Okai Vehicles) Electric scooter EV

The Miami City Commission has voted to end its experiment with shared electric scooters. In a 4 to 5 vote, the commission approved a pocket item, which is a last-minute legislative maneuver, to end the Miami scooter pilot.

The ordinance went into effect at midnight Nov. 18.

Miami City Commission Banishes Electric Scooters

Since 2018, Miami residents and tourists have been able to use mobile apps to rent dockless electric scooters. Companies have until 5PM on Nov. 19 to retrieve their scooters from the streets or the city will be forced to impound them.

Commissioner Alex Diaz de la Portilla told Mass Transit magazine that they are going to shut down the electric scooter business in the city, according to The Verge.

Scooters usually draw some controversy wherever they are deployed, but the electric two-wheelers were divisive in Miami. Supports say that they were useful in reducing car usage and connecting residents to transit hubs.

Meanwhile, critics said that they are a nuisance, blocking sidewalks, and creating situations in which unskilled riders were in danger of being injured in traffic.

The scooter companies were incensed by the vote. Caroline Samponaro, VP of transit, bike and scooter policy at Lyft, said in a statement that they are disappointed in the Commission's hasty and short sighted action to end the scooter program, taking away a safe and popular transportation option used by thousands of Miami residents daily and putting dozens of workers out of a job the week before Thanksgiving.

Samponaro cited recent comments by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in support of shared electric scooters while speaking at the LA Auto Show.

She said that they are hopeful that Suarez will stand up to the Commission on behalf of Miami residents and visitors to stop the action, according to Engadget.

Also Read: BMW's CE 04 Electric Scooter Brings 80 Miles of Range and Top Speed of 75mph under $12k; Is it Worth It?

Filing for an Appeal

Other scooter providers chimed in too. Lime Senior Director of Government Relations Phil Jones said in a statement that the decision comes as more of a shock to their tens of thousands of riders and the dozens of Miami-based workers they employ whose livelihoods are being toyed with.

Jones added that they have long worked with the City of Miami to provide safe, affordable, and sustainable transportation option for residents and visitors and they have invested millions of dollars into their micromobility program.

Diaz de la Portilla, who led the effort to end the program, according to Mass Tranist, said that on the streets, at whatever hour of the day, kids are on electric scooters. She added that it is an accident waiting to happen, according to Miami Herald. 

Other cities have used safety as a pretext for banning scooters. Nashville shut down its e-scooter pilot in 2019 after an intoxicated man was killed by a car driver while riding a scooter. The Nashville pilot was restarted several months later.

Micromobility supporters usually point out that cars and trucks, not scooters, pose the biggest threat to people on the road.

When someone is injured while riding a scooter or other lightweight vehicle, it is usually because cities have done little to protect them, like install protected bike lanes, reduce speed limits, or promote policies to encourage walking, bicycling, and scooter riding.

Banishing scooters, they argue, just reinforces the notion that streets are for vehicles are not for people.

Related Article: Ola S1 and S1 Pro Electric Scooters Sold 80K Units in the 1st 12Hrs | 70 MPH, 8.5kW Motor, 112 Mile Range, and More

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Written by Sophie Webster

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