Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 23, 2019 – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that legalizes electric scooters in the state and provides each city with the authority to regulate how and where they can be used. Motorized scooters are now permitted in the streets and bike lanes after the legislation lifted a restriction that previously limited them to sidewalks.
The legislation’s passage followed Tampa’s launch of a yearlong e-scooter pilot program in May. Lime, Spin, Bird and Jump are the four companies currently operating in the city. Riders are legally allowed to use e-scooters on streets and bike lanes in downtown Tampa.
“The arrival and growing popularity of electric scooters raises some concerns over safety as they have the potential to cause serious accidents and injuries,” commented Robert Joyce, a Tampa personal injury attorney with Joyce & Reyes. “While they serve as a convenient mode of transportation, every effort should be made to ensure electric scooters do not pose any danger to their riders, as well as bicyclists or pedestrians who also share the same roads.”
The introduction of e-scooters has raised considerable debate across many cities. Local governments in Florida have adopted different approaches. Clearwater officials issued a six-month ban on e-scooters in June while the city decides how to regulate them. The City of Orlando stated in January that officials were not interested in implementing the e-scooters for at least a year as they were focusing on solving problems with the local bike-sharing system.
Fort Lauderdale was one of the state’s first cities to allow e-scooters on its sidewalks in the fall of 2018. The city will now decide whether to continue the program. Fifty-seven scooter riders were taken to hospitals after being involved in accidents from last December through April. Ten people suffered severe injuries.
Tampa transportation director Jean Duncan said the city is still collecting data on whether e-scooter riders are observing the 15 mph speed limit. She also noted several problems since their launch. People were spotted riding e-scooters in banned areas or parking them in ways that blocked entrances and sidewalks. Duncan said that while Tampa’s operating agreements with vendors may change, she expected e-scooters to remain on city roads and bike lanes.
The bill, HB 453, was introduced by State Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and State Rep. Jackie Toledo, D-Tampa. Brandes said the measure aimed to ensure individual cities had control over the usage of e-scooters because it “is a new and evolving technology.”
Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
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