Electric scooters may zip past you without so much as a warning during your morning stroll, and on occasion block the sidewalk outside your favorite restaurant.
But the Atlanta Beltline and the city are looking to cut down on what they’ve called “inconsiderate behavior” on the part of scooter riders. New scooter safety measures will limit their speed on the city’s Beltline trails and in city parks — places walkers have complained to city officials about the new mode of transport that has exploded in Atlanta.
Riders on e-scooters must now abide by an 8 mph speed limit along a portion of the Beltline Eastside Trail between Monroe Drive and DeKalb Avenue, which has been designated as a reduced speed zone for scooters, Atlanta Beltline officials announced in a news release. The city previously set a speed limit of 15 mph for scooters in the city.
The reduced speed zones are in effect every day from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and on state holidays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., including the upcoming Fourth of July holiday.
The new scooter rules were announced Friday, days after Atlanta police announced they were beginning to enforce scooter laws after a period of leniency. Riders face a fine of up to $1,000 if they do not follow transportation laws.
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Parking zones for scooters have also been identified along the Eastside and Westside Beltline trails to reduce the clutter of discarded scooters, allowing residents to easily enter the trails.
Scooter parking will not be allowed anywhere on or along the multi-use trails except in the authorized zones, which will be marked with signs.
Atlanta Beltline spokeswoman Jenny Odom said the organization, the city and Atlanta police worked together to make the changes after residents complained of the use of scooters and bikes along the corridor. The new safety measures do not apply to bikes, Odom said.
“We are still meeting to determine solutions to managing other forms of speed and dangerous behaviors along the corridor,” Odom said in a statement.
In January, Atlanta passed legislation regulating scooters and imposing fines on companies for violations. Under the law, scooters must be parked upright on sidewalks in a manner that allows pedestrians five feet of space.
Scooter companies can be fined up to $1,000 per day for violations.
The recent changes are the latest in the city’s efforts to address multi-use transportation concerns.
In March, the Atlanta City Council passed a resolution requesting hospitals submit scooter-related injury data that could lead to more safety requirements for scooters. The council also passed legislation that would fine drivers parked in a bike lane $100.
Odom said the Atlanta Beltline will put together a task force to help regulate safety measures and have considered limiting the number of devices in on the trails.
“We will look at rolling out more changes,” she said. “There will be a little learning as we go along, but we are looking at more strategies moving forward.”
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