Amid complaints, Fort Lauderdale plans new rules for electric scooters

'Our streets and sidewalks have become the Wild West,' mayor says

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor, Todd Tongen - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Fort Lauderdale city officials plan to review the recently introduced dockless electric scooter program after a spate of accidents and complaints from residents.

On Feb. 5, the city commission will vote on banning scooters from the beach over spring break 

Mayor Dean Trantalis said the program, started in November, was intended to relieve congestion on the city streets, enabling people to use the scooters to take short trips instead using a car. 

However, several scooter riders have been involved traffic accidents, including 35 in December. A 14-year-old boy riding a scooter was seriously hurt in a hit-and-run crash in December and a woman was injured riding a scooter in the Kinney Tunnel this month.

Many motorists complain the scooter riders don't follow traffic laws, weaving in and out of traffic and traveling the wrong way on roads.

"Unfortunately, our streets and sidewalks have become the Wild West. Public safety has suffered," Trantalis wrote in his monthly newsletter.  "People are texting while riding scooters, and children and teens are using scooters despite age restrictions."

Four companies operate the scooters, which are left on sidewalks after users have finished their rides. Often, the scooters can pile up in high traffic areas, blocking private property, fire hydrants and handicap ramps.

"I just saw a little kid probably 10 or 11 years old barely under control, passing a bunch of people," said Brian Murphy, a Fort Lauderdale resident who opposes the scooters. "You see people, they are weaving in and out of people. I am just ready to take somebody out if they are coming at me."

Trantalis said city officials want the program to work and the commission will consider new regulations, calling the situation untenable..

"We may have to ban them completely from the city," Trantalis said.

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