WOODSTOCK — Members of the Woodstock City Council agreed this week that they don’t want dockless electric scooters, citing public safety.
The mayor and council will review an ordinance that would ban the devices in the city, which is being drafted by staff.
Shareable scooters, available through third-party apps, are used in Atlanta and a growing number of other cities. In the case of popular companies Bird and Lime, users unlock the motorized scooter, which travels up to 15-20 mph depending on the model, and are charged rental rates by the minute.
By Georgia law, helmets are required to ride electric scooters, and the vehicles are not allowed on sidewalks. Cities that allow them regulate their use in bike lanes and on roads with low speed limits. The city of Marietta has a ban on “shareable, dockless mobility devices,” and Roswell is considering a similar ban.
After hearing a staff presentation on the scooters Monday, council members voiced opposition to the scooters, noting that though the app can ask users to wear a helmet, the safety measure would be difficult to enforce.
“To me, it’s a nuisance,” said Councilman Colin Ake. “I understand last mile transportation is something that’s usually important, and something we need to take care toward, but the fact that you can just grab one of these with an app with no helmet — the app makes you say yeah, I’m going to wear a helmet, but the vast, vast, vast majority of people do not. It is leading to injuries and deaths, including people from Woodstock. I don’t know if they have a place here in Woodstock.”
Last month, a Woodstock resident was the victim of a fatal electric scooter accident in San Diego. Chris Conti, who was the city’s parks and recreation advisory chairman, died as a result of his injuries after crashing a rented scooter into a tree, according to local media reports.
Councilman David Potts, who presided over Monday’s meeting because Mayor Donnie Henriques and Mayor Pro Tem Rob Usher were absent, agreed.
“I was (in) downtown (Atlanta) over the weekend and I saw kids everywhere riding with no helmets, on the sidewalks, parents riding, flying by. They were littering the sidewalks; literally you could walk down the street and trip over them. They were laying everywhere. It didn’t look safe at all to me,” Potts said. “Not being able to ride them on the sidewalk, and our streets not having a lot of bike lanes, I don’t see why they’re necessary in Woodstock. I’d rather not see them.”