A man rides a Bird Scooter in Midtown earlier this year.
Photo: ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM
Photo: ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM

Brookhaven passes ordinance allowing electric scooters

The metro Atlanta e-scooter craze has officially entered another part of town.

The Brookhaven City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday night that allows companies to operate 50 dockless scooters each, and regulates how they should be used and parked.

It also mandates that companies like Bird and Lime purchase a permit to drop off their scooters in Brookhaven.

“It is just a reality that living in metro Atlanta, we’re going to see more and more of these shared bikes, electric scooters,” said Councilman Bates Mattison. “It’s good that we at least have the ability to enforce and monitor the companies that are going to be doing business here.”

The divisive devices arrived in the Atlanta less than a year ago, and set off a craze among riders who enjoyed taking a scooter from point A to point B without being restricted by a docking station. While Atlanta became one of the most popular cities nationally for scooter-riding, they also attracted some harsh critics who said they “litter” the streets and are a safety hazard.

A man rides a Lime Scooter on Peachtree Street in Midtown earlier this year. (Photo: ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

In the months since, the cities of Atlanta and Decatur have passed regulations permitting the scooters and mandating where and how they can be ridden. Marietta, meanwhile, banned the devices outright.

“We know the problem with the scooters,” said Brookhaven Councilman Joe Gebbia, who initially opposed the ordinance. He highlighted the potential safety risk surrounding the scooters, since hospitals around Atlanta have reported seeing more and more scooter-related injuries.

RELATED: How safe is that e-scooter? Atlanta hospitals asked to tally injuries

Gebbia pointed out that humans walk about about 3 mph, and “anything twice over what people walk is a hazard.”

He ended up voting in favor of the ordinance after the limit for each company was dropped from 100 to 50 scooters.

The devices have already been spotted around Brookhaven, but Tuesday’s ordinance officially allows them and puts laws in the books that oversee them.

“I do think it’s important to regulate this as soon as possible,” said Councilwoman Linley Jones. “Time and experience will tell us if our ordinance needs to be adjusted.”

The ordinance requires that scooter users ride on the street, unless they are on thoroughfares with speed limits higher than 35 mph. It also requires that riders under 16 must use a helmet.

It also sets out strict guidelines for parking, similar Atlanta’s rules. For example, they must be upright, not blocking a sidewalk, and not in the street.

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Channel 2's Tom Regan reports

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