01/04/2019 — Atlanta, Georgia — Lime Scooters sit parked on the sidewalk on Peachtree Street in Atlanta’s Midtown community, Friday, January 4, 2019. (ALYSSA POINTER/ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Smyrna leaders vote to ban e-scooters

Smyrna joined the growing list of metro Atlanta cities banning the use of electronic scooters in their jurisdictions at a Monday meeting of City Council.

City leaders voted unanimously to ban dockless mobility devices, including e-scooters and e-bicycles.

The ordinance approved by the council makes it illegal to provide dockless devices to use in the city, leave them standing or lying in the right-of-way or on public property and to ride them in the city. 

Any e-scooters or e-bicycles found on public property or right-of-way would be impounded in the Smyrna Police Department’s Property and Evidence Unit. The city would notify the owners of the devices and fine those companies for the costs associated with their recovery.

Smyrna leaders originally were set to consider the ban at its May meeting, but tabled the proposal to get more information on the topic. 

READWhich metro Atlanta cities have banned e-scooters?

Smyrna City Councilman Derek Norton said Monday that city staff conducted more research and noted it would create a safety issue if they were allowed in the city. E-scooters have the capability to travel 20 to 25 miles per hour, making them hard to maneuver between tables and chairs along sidewalks, the councilman said.

Norton also said he has attended three meetings with residents, and almost all of them have said they are opposed to e-scooters in the city. 

“It would create some safety issues that I just don’t think we are either ready for yet or may not suit Smyrna for these devices to be here,” he said.

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Mayor Max Bacon, who said he saw his first abandoned scooter Monday on an Atlanta Road sidewalk, said the scooters’ speed could create a situation in which someone “could get killed.” 

“I think it’s a good move,” he said of the ban. “These things fly and even in a downtown...somebody is going to get hurt bad.” 

One company that offers e-scooters for use, Bird, said it hoped Smyrna will join other cities around the world that have embraced e-scooters as alternate transportation options for its residents. 

“Bird is good for the environment and the economy,” the company said in a statement. “We are proud that our affordable service helps individuals opt out of the car and onto a more sustainable option, all while providing income opportunities in the communities where we operate.” 

Smyrna is the latest metro Atlanta city that’s decided to ban e-scooters and other shareable devices. Alpharetta, Marietta and Norcross have all imposed a ban on e-scooters. Woodstock leaders have approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban them in their jurisdiction. The second and final reading will be considered at the July 8 City Council meeting.

The small town of Hapeville on Tuesday will discuss the first reading of an ordinance that would impose a 12-month ban on e-scooters, the same action taken by the cities of Lilburn and Snellville. 

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