Athens-Clarke County Places Temporary Ban On Dockless Scooters

Dec 7, 2018

The Athens-Clarke County Commission voted earlier this week to place a temporary ban of up to 12 months on all dockless mobility devices.

Dockless devices are scooters or bikes that users can pick up, ride and drop off anywhere.

But that's a problem, according to Commissioner Jerry NeSmith. He said the Bird scooters showed up without warning.

"We immediately saw that people were riding on them without helmets, on the sidewalks at speeds of 15 miles per hour,” NeSmith said. “So, it became just obviously clear that we had a safety hazard in terms of blocking the sidewalks and endangering pedestrians."

NeSmith said the ban will give the commission time to write regulations for dockless vehicles and require permits. He said the city and county remained in favor of the meeting despite the temporary ban.

NeSmith said that after Athens Mayor Nancy Denson signs the legislation, Bird will have about 10 days to collect the scooters before the city starts impounding them.

A Bird spokesperson said in a statement they were disappointed with the commissioners’ decision.

“Banning Bird sends the dangerous signal that Athens-Clarke is anti-business, and it puts an end to our charger program that has provided part-time employment to individuals in the area and contributed tens of thousands of dollars into that community,” the statement said. “We urge county leaders to remedy this decision so that residents, university students and visitors can continue to access our low-cost transportation solution.”

NeSmith said they will continue to work with Bird and hope to develop a way to have the scooters back up and running for its citizens.