For now LimeBike is the only electric scooter company in Decatur. City staff is preparing an ordinance for e-scooter companies and riders, which it hopes to take before the city commission in June. Bill Banks file photo for the AJC

Decatur to hold work session on electric scooters ordinance

Decatur’s commission is planning a work session to discuss an impending ordinance on rentable electric scooters prior to its May 6 regular meeting at City Hall, 509 North McDonough Street in Decatur. The regular meeting begins at 7:30, the discussion roughly an hour before.

The Santa Monica-based Bird Rides, which launched the e-scooter craze in late 2017, came to Decatur last October and placed an estimated 50 to 75 scooters on city streets and sidewalks. Shortly thereafter LimeBike added an estimated 25 more.

But only Lime signed the city’s interim operating agreement, which took effect Jan 25, while Bird took its scooters and flew away. Since then e-scooters in Decatur have been conspicuous mostly by their absence. City Manager Andrea Arnold said recently she doesn’t know how many remain.

“We continue to pursue the ordinance and hope to take it before the commission in June,” she said. “At this time I don’t have a sense of whether our ordinance will attract or discourage companies from coming here.”

The operating agreement sets a number of parameters including: where to ride (not on sidewalks) and where to park (you can’t block pedestrian/wheelchair/fire hydrant access). Scooters are limited to 75 per company and a maximum of 50 per company within a one-mile radius of downtown. It’s also a requirement of LimeBike and Bird that riders must wear helmets and be a minimum 18 years old.

Arnold said she isn’t sure what parts of the operating agreement will transfer to the ordinance, though she added, “Insurance is a big deal. If any company is operating here they will have to provide insurance.”

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