ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando city council has cleared the first hurdle for e-scooters to be available for people to rent and ride downtown.
- Commissioners were concerned of injuries to riders, walkers
- They unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance
- Program calls for scooters to be limited to 10 mph
The council looking at testing them in Orlando in a pilot program for a year.
Some people who walk frequently downtown, like Bill Shugart, would love to see another fun way to get around.
"Yeah, absolutely, I would love to see them come through the city," Shugart said.
Orlando already has plenty of e-bikes, but Shugart says he would prefer an e-scooter.
"Scooters are easy to get onto and they're easy to ride through downtown, little smaller of a footprint," he said.
But at Monday's City Council meeting, some commissioners, like Patty Sheehan, expressed concern that with scooters will come serious injury.
"I got seniors who are walking through downtown (and) that's the only way they can get around. They're very concerned about the bikes sharing the sidewalks as it is and now you got these scooters and they're really concerned about getting injured," she said.
And not only are pedestrians at risk, but the riders themselves. In June, an e-scooter rider in Tampa was killed when police say he veered into the path of a semi-truck.
However, Shugart says it is up to the rider to stay safe and if someone gets hurt, it is on them.
"If you don't know how to ride a scooter, then don't get on an electric one, and don't ride through traffic," he said.
Commissioners unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance, but not without some reservations.
Commissioner Robert Stuart says they will not tolerate anyone being killed on a scooter here.
"One guy gets hit, falls down and hits his head and dies, we stop everything," Stuart said.
The pilot program will require city staff work with local hospitals to monitor how many people are injured on the scooters.
Right now, the program calls for scooters to be limited to 10 mph.
The city will also charge the companies 25 cents per ride to operate.
They say that money will be used for programs and improvements that will make it safer for pedestrians, bike and scooter riders.
The matter will come before the commission for a second vote at their December council meeting.