Dockless electric scooters will remain in Nashville, but with fewer allowed and tighter rules in effect for the next few months.
The Metro Council voted Tuesday to institute emergency rules and to move to a competitive bidding process that will ultimately allow no more than three scooter operators. The full rules
are available online here.
The outcome was described by council members as a compromise that followed urgent and diligent revisions to Nashville’s initial rules. Backlash against scooters has decried how they interfere with sidewalks — in motion and while parked — and the dozens of injuries and one fatality reported by authorities this year. Metro has fielded more than 600 scooter complaints so far in 2019.
But the council stopped short of removing scooters from the city, as initially proposed by Mayor David Briley. Scooter companies fought against a total ban, and two weeks ago, Bird and Lime preemptively reduced their fleets by half. People noticed — including Councilman Larry Hagar.
He said scooters breeze past his law office downtown. He initially wanted them gone, but ultimately voted for a reduction.
“I see them still coming up and down the sidewalk in front of my office. Not as much. It’s getting better,” he said. “I’m going to support it tonight, but I’m still watching it very closely.”
The council easily passed the revised rules in a 29-0 vote, with four abstentions.
The newly enhanced rules:
- create no-ride and slow-ride zones;
- prohibit riding after 10 p.m. on weekdays and after 11 p.m. on weekends and Metro holidays;
- require more employees to be ready to respond to complaints;
- create a hotline for complaints about scooters that interfere with disabled access to sidewalks, and;
- require companies to reimburse Metro for new no-parking signage.
Over the long term, Metro plans to cut the number of scooter companies from seven down to a maximum of three.