Miami Reinstates E-Scooter Program

After abruptly ending its shared e-scooter program last month, Miami is letting the devices return to its streets–with some new rules.

December 3, 2021, 12:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

South Beach Open Streets

Jason Heid / Shutterstock

After ending its micromobility program on November 18, the Miami City Commission will reinstate the city's e-scooter program––with added safety requirements, reports Jason Plautz.

Supporters have touted scooters as an effective way to beat traffic in one of the country's most congested cities. However, their presence has long been controversial. Miami officials have pulled them several times even while managing the pilot, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and for a brief period in early 2021 over clutter concerns.

The city allowed scooter operators to return their devices to the street until at least after the holiday season, when the Commission will revisit the pilot program and potentially revise its regulations. While some commissioners view the scooters as a nuisance and sidewalk clutter, others believe the devices provide an important transportation option and a lucrative source of funding for protected bike lanes and other infrastructure. Others support the devices but want to see broader distribution to more neighborhoods, not just downtown areas popular with tourists. 

The new rules require riders to wear helmets and reduce the number of scooters allowed per block. In the future, the city may institute speed regulations and shorter operating hours, according to Plautz. Earlier this year, Bird introduced 'Community Safety Zones,' high-activity areas where the devices automatically slow down, to improve safety and reduce the chance of scooter-pedestrian crashes.

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