Dockless Scooter

In this 2018 file photo, a man parks his rented dockless scooter outside of a restaurant in Atlanta. The city of Smyrna is considering banning these scooters, with the City Council expected to vote on the proposal Monday night.

Smyrna’s City Council is considering prohibiting shareable, dockless electric scooters from operating in the city, just a few months after Marietta did the same.

The ban is on the agenda for Smyrna’s City Council meeting on Monday and would apply to rentable electric scooters and bicycles, which are rented through a smartphone app.

Several companies have begun offering these services over the last few years including Bird and Lime, and ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft have launched their own scooter service.

The scooters are dockless, which means riders rent them, ride to their destination and leave the scooters there, paying via a mobile app. Companies that offer the scooters typically pick them up during the night for charging, offering to pay users to gather the scooters, take them home and charge them.

A common criticism of the companies’ business models is that they result in scooters littering public sidewalks.

Councilman Charles Welch said he’s supportive of the proposal for multiple reasons. First, he said he doesn’t like the look of the scooters being discarded on public sidewalks, something he sees in Atlanta.

“It seems like people rent them and leave them everywhere, and it’s unsightly. That’s one reason,” he said.

Second, Welch said, there’s a safety issue. He pointed to the news of a man killed after being struck by a car while riding a scooter in Atlanta early Friday morning.

“Unless you have some experience with them, I just don’t think that you should be taking off and riding on the city streets and sidewalks with them,” Welch said.

Jennifer Bennett, spokesperson for the city, said Smyrna has not been approached by a company looking to set up shop in the city, but other neighboring areas have.

“It’s a step in the direction of making sure something unmanageable doesn’t come in first, so that we are able to manage it as the industry changes and the safety issues can be addressed,” Bennett said.

The city could revisit the ordinance in the future, Bennett said, but there’s no guarantee.

Councilman Tim Gould said the proposed ban gives the city a chance to plan if, in the future, it decides to allow the scooters.

Bennett said another issue with the scooters is where they can operate. They are too fast for sidewalks but too slow for streets, she said.

If approved, the prohibition would go into effect immediately, Bennett said. It would not apply to scooters personally owned, but only those offered by companies like Bird or Lime.

Marietta’s City Council voted to ban the scooters in February.

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(1) comment

Mark Hackett

Electric scooters provide green transportation, a great alternative to gas powered autos and motorcycles that don't pump combustion emissions into city air. Ordinances managing how scooters are parked and safely used would make much more sense then banning them while allowing this forward thinking and easy way to get around that is environmentally friendly. Come on - lets get out of the dark ages and think about how to reduce automobile traffic...

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