Atlanta’s “Scootergeddon” May Be Over for a While

You may have heard that another e-scooter company, Lime, is leaving Atlanta. On January 9th, the company stated, “As part of our path to profitability, Lime has made the difficult decision to exit Atlanta and focus our resources on markets that allow us to meet our ambitious goals for 2020.”

Since the introduction of e-scooters in 2018, Atlanta and surrounding cities have struggled with the adoption of this dock-less device. Without clear regulations for the scooter industry and limited dedicated infrastructure for light individual transportation, the city witnessed the deaths of four e-scooter riders, and many crashes and injuries. As a result, cities like Decatur banned scooters completely, Atlanta imposed a nighttime riding curfew, a geo-fence was implemented on the Beltline and a Georgia Senate scooter committee was formed among other measures including hefty impound fees.

City of Atlanta Ordinance 19-0-1322 adopted on January 7, 2019 addresses regulations for scooter riders and states:

  • No riding scooters on the sidewalks
  • Ride scooters in LIT lanes or in the right lane of the street
  • No using a cell phone while riding
  • Ride one person per scooter
  • No blocking crosswalks, doorways, driveways or anything else
  • Follow traffic laws, the flow of traffic and always yield to pedestrians.

While we may see less company owned scooters littered on the sidewalks, the use of e-scooters and other devices like motorized skateboards continues to grow. In traffic dense areas like metro Atlanta, they provide last mile connectivity with public transit, parking decks and sports events. Take a stroll through Midtown or get on the MARTA train to Buckhead during rush hour and you’ll see commuters who have now opted to buy and use their own device. Docked bikes, e-bikes and pedal assist bicycles are also growing in popularity in Atlanta and all over the country.

46% of car traffic in the US is caused by trips less than three miles and micro-mobility options may provide a solution to the daily gridlock that metro Atlanta commuters face. The INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard reports that Atlanta is the 71st most congested city in the world.  While the main concerns with micro-mobility vehicles are safety and infrastructure, data collection efforts continue to report a growth in micro-mobility use replacing car rides. Additionally, cities around the world had experienced the positive impact micro-mobility solutions have on reducing congestion.

The way we travel around Atlanta is changing and changing fast. While city leaders and road users grapple with these new challenges, the question that remains is how to incorporate all the different modes of transportation and pedestrians in a way that is safe and equitable and most importantly if we are willing to make the necessary changes.