Miami Beach reverses spring break scooters ban

Business owners will now have to install GPS devices, kill switches on scooters

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A flurry of scooters weaving through the streets of South Beach is a common sight on any day.

"For old people, you see them go in and out, get in front of you and you can't do anything," said Albert Fernandez, whose car has been blocked in by scooters before. 

Statistics show that accidents and citations involving the gas-powered rental mopeds spike during spring break.

That's why Miami Beach commissioners banned the rental of the scooters entirely during the month of March last year, which had the rental companies fuming.

But on Wednesday, in a 5-1 vote, commissioners reversed the ban on scooters, with some strings attached.

Mayor Dan Gelber was the only opposing vote.

"When you have all these scooters being rented, the streets get too congested and the results are things we really don't want," Gelber said. 

"I think, finally, the commissioners and the city see our side because I think scooters are very friendly to the city," Kiko Satbon, of MB Scooters, said. 

Business owners will now have to install GPS devices and kill switches on every rental scooter.

The vehicles must also have a unique identifying number and a hotline clearly labeled so anyone can call and report unruly riders.

A confirmed tip forces the scooter company to hit a button and disable the engine, requiring a tow and the so-called bad rider would forfeit their deposit of up to $400.

The new law is a last-ditch move that could cost companies roughly $10,000 to be in compliance. 

"Whatever it will cost, I put the effort to make it happen, so money is not the issue," Satbon said.

"I think this is a lot more sensible approach than an outright ban," Commissioner Ricky Arriola said. 

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