Late night scooter rides in Midtown Atlanta are a thing of the past. On August 9, the City of Atlanta mayor’s office put into effect a daily No Ride Zone from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. for rented electric scooters and e-bikes.
This regulation, which was called for by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and put into action by Department of City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane, is part of an effort to make riding electric scooters and bikes safer. Personal (not rented) electric scooters and bicycles are not subject to this ban.
In the last few months, Atlanta has seen at least four scooter-related deaths. Bottoms stated that there was a pattern in the fatalities involving scooters in that they all occurred after sunset.
“This nighttime ban, while we continue to develop further long-term measures, will ensure the safest street conditions for scooter riders, motorists, cyclists, those in wheelchairs and pedestrians,” Bottoms said in a press release.
Rented scooters have become one of the preferred methods for Tech students to navigate between classes and elsewhere in Atlanta. On campus, GTPD and PTS work together to enforce traffic laws and ensure everyone is traveling safely.
“We appreciate the role that shared mobility, like scooters and bike share, play for last mile connectivity on campus,” said Lisa Safstrom, campus transportation planner. “Our main concern is the safety of the campus community, and we support the City’s initiatives of preventing any further incidents. Campus will continue to respect the rules the City implements, and we affirm the need to improve the quantity and quality of infrastructure in Atlanta for micro-mobility transportation options.”
After the announcement of the No Ride Zone, the Department of City Planning informed rental companies of the change in city law. Companies were additionally asked to disable devices during these hours.
Uber, which operates Jump electric scooters and bikes, was one of such companies.
“Uber is deeply committed to the safety of our customers and all who share the road,” said Evangeline George, a spokesperson from Uber. “We are focused on a comprehensive approach to road safety — one that focuses on people, products and infrastructure — and will continue working with the Atlanta City Council and the Administration while complying with these new rules.”
The No Ride Zone is the latest attempt to prevent scooter-related injuries and deaths. On July 25, Bottoms issued an executive order that stated the City of Atlanta would refuse to permit any additional scooter rental companies for operation in the city. Ten companies are currently permitted. The No Ride Zone order will be integrated into this executive order, pending the passage of legislation.
In addition, sidewalks around the city sport signs telling riders to “never use sidewalks,” hoping to avoid civilian collisions.
A press release from the City of Atlanta states that in the long term the administration intends to pursue an “accelerated plan for changes to our streets creating safer, dedicated spaces for cyclists and scooter riders” as well as improvements to the selection of and collaboration with dockless rental vendors.
Tech students have periodic opportunities to educate themselves via safety classes held by PTS, GTPD and Bike GT. The next class will be held on Sept. 19 at 11 a.m. in CRC room 240. For more information, refer to pts.gatech.edu.