Metro Nashville Council votes down electric scooter ban

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Electric scooters will remain in Nashville following the Metro Nashville Council’s rejection of an outright ban at the Aug. 20 meeting.

The ordinance, which would have prohibited scooter companies from operating in Nashville, failed 7-24 in its third and final reading. The Metro Nashville Council’s decision to keep scooters came up at the final meeting before new and returning council members begin four-year terms in October.

“[Electric scooters] have created a greater strain on our police, fire and EMT departments,” said District 12 Council Member Steve Glover, who sponsored the ordinance along with District 31 Council Member Fabian Bedne, District 11 Council Member Larry Hagar, District 19 Council Member Freddie O’Connell and District 4 Council Member Robert Swope.

At the July 16 meeting, the Metro Nashville Council adopted an updated set of scooter regulations. Instead of a ban of electric scooters, the ordinance approved in July called for fewer companies, reduced scooter fleets and more safety regulations.

“It’s taking us a while to get these scooters right, but we need to keep working on it,” said District 26 Council Member Jeremy Elrod. “If it doesn’t work, let’s get rid of them. In my opinion, we haven’t given scooters every chance to succeed, and not for the scooter companies, but for people who live in Nashville and want another option to get around.”

The ordinance required existing companies—Bird, Lime, Lyft, Spin, Jump and Bolt—to immediately reduce their scooter fleets by 50%. Gotcha Mobility, which arrived in Nashville in the spring, suspended its operations in early August, according to the company.

The Metro Transportation Licensing Commission have been tasked with determining three companies to be allowed to remain in Nashville, according to the ordinance approved in July.

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 Nashville 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.

On June 21, Mayor David Briley asked the Metro Nashville Council to ban scooters, at least temporarily, due to lack of enforcement and regulation. Briley issued a 30-day notice in May for scooter companies to address safety concerns.

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