Miami commission votes to ban electric scooters, wants them removed from streets immediately

Motorized scooters have been put on hold in Miami, with operators being ordered to deactivate and pick up their machines immediately.

Commissioners agreed on Thursday to cancel a multi-year pilot program that permitted multiple companies to install dockless electric scooters in the city’s center. Riders have been able to rent scooters using mobile phone apps since 2018. Vendors have until midnight Thursday to disable their scooters and until 5 p.m. Friday to pick them up, or the city will impound them.

Politicians and locals have been debating the scooters for quite some time. According to critics, scooters are a dangerous nuisance that litter sidewalks and generate potential for collisions with vehicles and people.

Commissioner Díaz de la Portilla had previously voted to continue the program, but now wants it terminated immediately.

Díaz de la Portilla led the movement to end the program, stating that youngsters can be seen on the scooters on Biscayne Boulevard at any hour of the day, describing it as an accident waiting to happen.

Commissioner Ken Russell, whose District 2 was the pilot program’s host, voted against the program’s termination. He was the only one who voted no. He pushed for scooters as a mode of transportation and moneymaker, with the city receiving $2.4 million from the pilot program, which was used to construct new bike lanes.

Caroline Samponaro, an executive of Lyft, a ridesharing company that also operates electric scooters, said the company was utterly disappointed in the Commission’s quick and flawed decision to end the scooter program, which removed a popular and safe transportation option used by thousands of Miami residents every day and laid off dozens of workers the week before Thanksgiving.

This isn’t the only time Miami put the program on hold.