Metro Nashville Council votes to keep electric scooters under new regulations

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Electric scooters will remain in Nashville in limited ways following the Metro Nashville Council’s approval at the July 16 meeting.

The action follows Mayor David Briley’s June 21 request to the Metro Nashville Council to ban scooters, at least temporarily, due to lack of enforcement and regulation. In May, Briley issued a 30-day notice for scooter companies to address safety concerns.

“After much thought, I have decided to recommend to the Metro [Nashville] Council that the existing [electric scooter]pilot program terminate and that scooters be removed from the Metro right-of-ways immediately upon the enactment of the Council legislation,” Briley said in the letter.

Instead of banning electric scooters, the ordinance approved at the July 16 meeting calls for fewer companies, reduced scooter fleets and more safety regulations. District 7 Council Member Anthony Davis, District 25 Council Member Russ Pulley and District 28 Council Member Tanaka Vercher sponsored the legislation.

The ordinance requires existing companies—Bird, Lime, Lyft, Spin, Jump, Bolt and Gotcha Mobility—to immediately reduce their scooter fleets by 50% until the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission conducts a selection process to determine the three companies that will be allowed to remain in Nashville. The commission must determine the three companies within 100 days, according to the ordinance.

In addition to limiting the number of scooter companies to three, the ordinance allowing scooters to remain in Nashville includes the following regulations:

  • Each company must have two full-time employees per 100 electric scooters or bikes.
  • Each company must pay up to $10,000 a year for the Metro Transportation Licensing Committee or Metro Nashville Public Works to install signage indicating prohibited riding areas, such as sidewalks.
  • Each company will have 30 minutes to respond to all Americans with Disabilities Act-related issues and complaints and two hours to respond to all other complaints.
  • Slow zones will be established in areas such as Broadway between Seventh Avenue and the Cumberland River and 2nd Avenue between Broadway and Union Street.
  • No-ride zones will be established at all greenways.

The ordinance passed unanimously with four abstentions, including At-Large Council Member Bob Mendes, District 9 Council Member Bill Pridemore, District 17 Council Member Colby Sledge and District 23 Council Member Mina Johnson.

“I still have concerns about the safety, and many of my constituents are still concerned about the safety,” Johnson said. “We’re not living in a perfect world. We do not have the sidewalks, the bikeways, the dedicated scooter ways or safe streets.”

If not content with the new regulations in place, members of the Metro Nashville Council said they will revisit a total ban at the Aug. 20 meeting.

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