City of Winter Park staff are hard at work with the City Attorney to create a new framework for the introduction and implementation of micro-mobility devices. That’s fancy talk for scooters, electric bikes, and things that make you zoom through downtowns.
The aforementioned public employees are currently exploring locations in the Central Business District along Park Avenue where micro-mobility devices could be deemed appropriate for public use without affecting pedestrian safety. A tight squeeze for sure, as you’d know if you tried to simply squeeze a stroller through the sidewalks, let alone a scooter with a laptop over your shoulder.
At a recent City Commission meeting this past February, city commissioners voted to move forward with drafting formal regulations on scooter use in city limits, albeit, very begrudgingly.
Commissioner Cooper declared that she felt there was no part of downtown that could safely host micro-mobility devices and that it was simply not safe to have them in the Central Business District. Cooper voiced her support of a ban on their use downtown until strict regulations were in place.
Commissioner Weaver told everyone in attendance that he tried scooters once but didn’t inhale.
“[I] feel they are unsafe for a number of reasons including decreased line of sight and usage of cell phones during operation.”– COMMISSIONER WEAVER VIA COMMISSION MEETING NOTES
Commissioner Sprinkel wanted everyone to think of the children if scooters were permitted to be used near schools and parks, not just in the safety of an open street.
Attorney Ardaman (not a wizard from Lord of the Rings) warned the council that they’ll have to take action sooner than later or the orcs would invade regardless… or rather, regulations should be enacted soon, as scooters didn’t seem to be going away any time soon and state law seemed to be shifting in their favor.
Florida Statute doesn’t allow scooters on sidewalks unless municipalities give the go-ahead and cities really only have the authority to ban them on really busy streets where they would block traffic or be seen as a safety hazard.
So the rules are coming, and probably soon, but the commission will need a spoonful of sugar to make it go down.
Staff has been ordered to draft an ordinance with suggested regulations, sans moratorium.
I’m not a fan of the scooter and bike “carcasses” littering downtown Orlando, nor do I like nearly getting clipped on a daily basis by wobbly inexperienced scooter and bike drivers as I’m *walking* to and from my downtown destinations. Haven’t seen a good argument for the scooters yet. Bikes maybe, but have a designated pick up and return corral. They look awful littering the streets. Wish Orlando would do what Winter Park is doing to keep these away.
Having recently worked in Downtown Winter Park, I can say there is no room for scooters along Park Ave. With many restaurants having sidewalk seating it is very crowded and a challenge to navigate on foot. Hopefully the city coffers have enough cash to weather lawsuits from injuries sustained by pedestrians.