The fate of Fulton County having a uniform policy regarding electric scooters, also known as e-scooters or dockless mobility devices, may be decided at Fulton Board of Commissioners’ next meeting with the mayors of the county’s 15 cities.
“E-scooters are not going away and we have to be open-minded about it, but they need to be regulated to some degree, which I agree with,” board Chair Robb Pitts said. The mayors’ meeting will take place in October at a date to be announced.
Pitts introduced a resolution on the board’s agenda for its Sept. 18 recess meeting at Assembly Hall in downtown Atlanta. However, after a brief discussion headed by District 1 Commissioner Liz Hausmann, the chair “filed” the resolution, meaning no action would be taken on it.
Hausmann said a number of Fulton cities had already passed their individual city e-scooter regulations.
“As diverse as Fulton County’s 15 (cities) are in their individual policies, rules and regulations involving electric scooters, I do not know how we, as a commission, could possibly expect to come up with a uniform, countywide policy for our cities,” she said.
Fulton Vice Chair and District 3 Commissioner Lee Morris agreed.
“The odds that Fulton County’s 15 cities would agree to the same set of rules and regulations involving electric scooters (are) not very likely,” he said.
Pitts’ resolution comes after the city of Atlanta, which has allowed e-scooters since May 2018, has dealt with the issue of three individuals dying while riding the vehicles in the city this year between May and July.
The latest death prompted Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to issue executive orders to temporarily stop new e-scooter permits from being issued and to outlaw scooter use between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., since the three deaths occurred after dark.
The permit ban was codified when the city council voted in August to approve it.
District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis said while coming up with a uniform policy for the county’s 15 cities may be a monumental task, e-scooter concerns must be confronted nonetheless.
“I think that all of our communities in Fulton are unique, and it is an issue that should be left in their hands … to determine how they want to handle it,” he said. “Practically speaking, trying to drive toward having a more uniform policy throughout the county was going to be almost impossible.
Everyone is struggling with the issue of e-scooters now, and I believe there has been a call for the possibility of legislation at the state level regarding e-scooters in general. This topic is not going away anytime soon, whether it be with state legislation or whether it is left for each municipality to determine its own policy, but I feel this is an issue that each community needs to address.”