City Council hits brakes on electric scooter pilot program

A picture shows an electric scooter of the Lime electric scooter-sharing service in Madrid on September 5, 2018. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS – The New Orleans City Council has hit the brakes on a proposed electric scooter pilot program.

The electric scooters have become very popular despite repeated concerns about safety in nearly every major market they have appeared in.

In New Orleans, Councilmembers have said the recently passed idewalk obstruction ordinance authorizes Safety and Permits to immediately remove individual small vehicles such as scooters left on the public right of way.

“We worked collaboratively to craft legislation to explore this new technology option, but the potential complications for public safety are too high for us to move forward,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said. “As we continue to improve the City’s infrastructure, we will place ourselves in a better position to incorporate transportation alternatives in the coming years. The City cannot support the electric scooter implementation at this time.”

Ongoing efforts to make the city more friendly and safe for bicyclists could be derailed by the electric scooter pilot program.

“Given a number of factors, the Council is unprepared to move forward with a scooter pilot at this time,” Councilmember Palmer said. β€œIn a city that is still working to establish a safe infrastructure and culture for bicycles, introducing hundreds of new small vehicles like the scooters would only serve to complicate these efforts. Additionally, we do not believe the nearly 18 million visitors who come to New Orleans each year can be properly educated about the specific rules the pilot proposed. So for right now, we are not prepared to move forward.”