If you live in Brickell or even just work or hang out here – you probably noticed, too. From one night to the next, Brickell was bombarded with Scooter Sharing options. Bird. Lime. Lyft. Jump. Bolt. Spin. On any given day, an influx of these electric scooters could be found on several Brickell corners, waiting to be ridden.
But right now, it’s a sort of free-for-all when it comes to riders, drivers, pedestrians and scooters. Complete madness. No rules being governed and much less being followed. Which led us to ask: What are the actual rules when it comes to Scooter Sharing? We’ve compiled them all for you in an easy to read list.
1) Where do I Ride – Sidewalk or Street?
According to the City of Miami website, scooters are allowed to operate on the sidewalk OR in the streets and bike lanes. But this ambiguity is causing accidents and people are getting hurt. Not too long ago a pedestrian was hit by someone who was riding a scooter through Mary Brickell Village. She broke her ankle. It led to Mary Brickell Village installing signs reading “No Scooters. Dismount and Walk.” Most of the Scooter Sharing companies strongly suggest not riding on the sidewalk as the scooters can reach 15 MPH and could seriously injure someone. So, what should riders do? The rule of thumb should be this: If you’re in a hurry and plan on putting pedal to the metal, then use bike lanes or streets with extreme precaution. If you’re going on a leisure ride and are okay with stopping and yielding frequently, then use sidewalks with extreme precaution.
2) Follow All Traffic Laws
Whether you decide to ride on the sidewalk or on the street, all traffic laws and signs must be obeyed. Yeah, you read that right. You are technically operating a motor vehicle and have to follow all traffic laws as such. That means you must make complete stops. You must obey all traffic signs. You must use hand signals. And most importantly, you must yield to pedestrians. Basically, everything Miami drivers should do but don’t, electric scooter riders should do, too.
3) Wear a Helmet
This one might make a few people laugh as Miami is way too superficial to ever actually do this. But it’s important and could one day save your life. Don’t have the funds for a new helmet? Both Jump and Spin have teamed up with companies to offer discounted helmets (Overade with Spin offers foldable helmets). A slight little mishap, a curb you didn’t see, could send you flying off your scooter. Play it safe and protect your head.
4) Do Not Ride While Intoxicated
Another one that might make a few people laugh. But it seems like this is exactly the time when people decide to ride these scooters. Not only are you endangering yourself, but you’re endangering everyone around you when you decide to ride while intoxicated. The scooters seem harmless, but try imagining hitting someone while riding 15 MPH. Or imagine missing a curb, or riding straight into a wall while riding 15 MPH. All things that are very probable if riding while intoxicated. Keep this in mind next time you’ve had a few drinks and are enticed to ride these scooters home.
5) Be Mindful of Where You Park
One too many times I’ve seen scooters blocking a ramp onto a sidewalk. This means blocking access to a ramp for someone who really needs it – like a parent with a stroller, an elderly person, or a disabled person. The apps clearly state where one can and cannot park a scooter. You can literally leave them almost anywhere so long as they aren’t blocking ramps, garages, store entrances, and public walkways. C’mon, people! It isn’t that hard. Park respectfully.
6) Check Your Scooters
Hundreds of people use these scooters for hundreds of rides. We shouldn’t assume that everyone takes meticulous care of them. Not only are these scooters used by and exposed to hundreds of people daily, they are also left outside overnight. It is in your best concern to do a pre-ride check of your scooter. Check the handles and brakes and make sure the wheels are fine. It takes about 15 seconds to complete and could possibly help avoid an accident.
7) One Passenger Per Scooter
Whether it be two friends, a mom and her toddler, or a dad with a newborn in his baby carrier, time and time again I’ve seen two people sharing one scooter. These scooters are designed for ONE passenger. Having two on them can increase the injuries not only to the riders but to pedestrians. It seems fun and harmless but it’s not. Just have your friend pay the extra few bucks to get their own scooter.
8) Be Alert at All Times
That means no earphones while riding. It’s important to be able to hear what’s going on around you – whether it be the sound of an approaching car or a pedestrian saying excuse me. You have to hear what’s going on around you your favorite music or podcasts can muffle out important noises. Also, no phones whatsoever. Not just while riding, but when at a stop. Keep your phone in your pocket and pay attention to everything around you at all times!
Scooter sharing should not be seen as a burden to Brickell. It’s a fun and innovative take on transportation. One that allows us to quickly get us where we need to be without the hassle of waiting in traffic. And so long as all these rules are followed, scooting sharing is a safe option for riders and pedestrians alike.