People ride LimeBike, left, and Bird electric scooters on the Embarcadero in San Francisco on April 13, 2018. Photo by: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Photo: David Paul Morris - Bloomberg
Photo: David Paul Morris - Bloomberg

Roswell revs up for debate on ban of e-scooters

For a device that revs up to about 15 mph, electric scooters sure are getting around. Their latest stop is in Roswell, where city staff have proposed a ban on e-scooters.

The Roswell City Council’s community development and transportation committee was set to discuss the ban at its Wednesday meeting but deferred until April because some members weren’t present.

Marietta banned the scooters in February. And on Tuesday, Georgia lawmakers ditched plans to regulate the devices until next year, giving time for negotiations with e-scooter rental companies to continue. The companies, primarily Bird and Lime, say they are useful and fun for short trips while freeing up traditional parking spots.

Roswell’s staff admits the suburban city isn’t the target market for such scooters and no invasion is imminent, but they still think adopting a ban is a good idea. According to a staff report, Roswell police and parks workers said regulations would be difficult to enforce. They also said sending the e-scooters to bike lanes isn’t good because of the city’s “fragmented network of bike lanes which would likely lead to confusion and violations.”

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Sean Groer, the councilman who chairs the committee, said the recommendation to ban plays it safe, and he would like Roswell to be a leader on this topic by thinking of a creative way to allow the e-scooters in the city.

“I do think it’s important to not ban everything,” he said.

Aside from them not getting a cut of the money, the issue many elected officials across the U.S.have with scooter companies is how they have plopped the devices into cities and let citizens become dependent on the devices without talking to municipalities first.

READAtlanta eyes regulation of booming electric scooter business

“I think there’s going to be a time and place for order and organization to this,” Groer said, “but it’s a matter of us embracing these types of industries by thinking about quality of life for our residents.”

Groer said he doesn’t know of any opposition to the ban, but the City Council has not yet heard the staff’s presentation, which is set for April 24.

“The safest thing to so is just not allow them at all,” he said, “but maybe we can make it work.”

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Channel 2's Tom Regan reports

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