During a virtual Winter Park City Commission meeting on Monday, June 24, not attended by Mayor Steve Leary, the commissioners passed an ordinance stating that commercial electric scooters and bicycles would not be permitted within city limits. A growing global trend, rental e-scooters and bikes from companies such as Lime, Bird, and Spin have become a common sight on the sidewalks of many cities, including in downtown Orlando.
The devices can be unlocked and rented through use of the corresponding company’s smart phone app, through which riders are typically charged a small flat fee plus a specific rate per minute of use. The e-scooters and bikes travel up to 10 or 15 miles per hour and are generally operated on sidewalks and in bike lanes. The ordinance explains that the city’s many brick roads, narrow sidewalks, and pedestrians, especially in areas such as Park Avenue and Hannibal Square, prevent this service from being a good fit for Winter Park.
During Monday’s meeting, Planning Director Bronce Stephenson explained that in order to enforce the ban, the City will provide the micromobility device rental companies with a geofence and a fine will be issued should one of the prohibited vehicles be driven outside the designated boundaries. “Basically, it’ll hit you in the wallet,” Stephenson said.
Additionally, abandoned commercial e-scooters and bikes left where they are not allowed to operate can be removed by the City and returned to an appropriate staging site. Stephenson also clarified that the ordinance has no impact on the use of personal bicycles or scooters and “would still allow for kids to ride in their neighborhoods and that sort of thing.”
In order to finalize the ban, Winter Park’s transportation advisory board will review the ordinance and hold a vote.