The City of Miami revoked permits for several electric scooter companies last week for failing to address safety requirements and now new videos are showing some of the violations that led to the crack down.
The footage shows underage riders on e-scooters, riders without helmets, reckless riding in the middle of traffic and people double-riding, none of which is allowed.
“Appalling, embarrassing, it’s a thing of lawlessness that should not be happening with the scooter companies,” said James Torres, President of the Downtown Neighbors Alliance.
In letters to the operators obtained by NBC 6, officials wrote that scooter companies failed to comply with safety measures set forth by the city.
Scooters by Bird, Bolt, Lime, Lyft and Wheels are now all off Miami streets.
The City of Miami shut down several scooter companies in Miami for safety concerns. NBC 6’s Jamie Guirola reports
Torres said his biggest concern is safety.
“Anyone can get hit, even the individuals, the underagers, especially on Biscayne Boulevard,” he said. “Something happens, we don’t want to see that.”
Back in November when the city reinstated the scooter pilot program after a brief hiatus, it implemented a new set of rules, including a 9 p.m. curfew and mandatory helmet use.
“This is what a pilot program does,” Miami Commissioner Ken Russell
said. “You test things out, you make it better, make it better. And in the most recent version of safety measures – helmets required, lower speed limits, geofencing – we found several companies violating and we had to remove them from the pilot program.”
Russell has been a proponent of e-scooters and said they are a good solution for commuters. He also points out the program has brought $2.5 million in new revenue for the city.
“We just have to get it right cause there’s a lot of underage riding, which is illegal, there’s reckless riding which is illegal, so we have to rein the program in or just let it go,” said Russell.
City Commissioner Manolo Reyes has been a vocal opponent of the program and said many riders don’t follow the rules.
“Who is going to enforce it and who is going to pay for it?” said Reyes. “If it were my choice, they would not survive.”
Lime, one of the companies that had their permit revoked, said they’re committed to safety, and have been hosting helmet giveaways, attaching helmets to scooters, using technology that requires riders to take selfies with helmets, having the scooters shut off at 9 p.m.
The company has also sent messaging to riders reminding them of the rules.
“We’re a little confused and again disappointed. We want to be the best partner possible for the city,” Lime’s Bruno Lopes said. “Work with us. Safety is at the forefront of what we do.”
For now, Helbiz and Spin are the only scooter companies that remain operational in Miami.
For their part, the Downtown Neighbors Alliance wants to make it clear that they’re not against micromobility, they want safeguards and are willing to work with the mayor and the city commission.