MILTON, Ga. — Milton has joined a growing number of cities addressing concerns over the use of rentable electric scooters and bicycles.
At its Nov. 18 meeting, the City Council enacted a moratorium banning any company from starting a rental business for the mobility devices in the city. The 6-month moratorium specifically bans the issuance of occupational tax licenses for any company wishing to offer dockless e-scooters or electric bicycles.
The moratorium does not ban the use of the devices in the city, only businesses offering them for rent.
The city has not yet received a request to for an occupational tax license, but one business owner did reach out to the city inquiring about rentable e-scooters. The city does not currently have an ordinance in place addressing the use of e-scooter rentals.
“Six months will give enough time to the city to work with the City Council to draft necessary regulations,” said Community Development Director Parag Agrawal.
The City Council previously discussed the use of rentable e-scooters, offered by such companies and Lime and Bird, at an Aug. 5 meeting, but an ordinance was never drafted or approved.
At that meeting, Police Chief Rich Austin outlined the use of the scooters. The scooters can provide an affordable and entertaining way to get around town without emissions, but their use has created issues in other cities.
Austin said the scooters are regulated by motor vehicle laws, so they cannot be used on sidewalks. He said that many cities have seen users disregard that mandate and a requirement for users to wear helmets. Austin said research he found showed only about 4 percent of riders use helmets.
There have also been incidences of serious injuries and deaths associated with the use of the scooters, including in Atlanta. Austin said e-scooter users have been involved in accidents with cars and pedestrians.
Other cities have also seen issues with the scooters being left blocking sidewalks, businesses entrances or other areas.
Councilmember Laura Bentley spoke in favor of an outright ban of the devices during that meeting. She said rentable e-scooters in Milton could increase police calls and result in injuries. She also said she did not feel their use was “a good fit for Milton.”
At the August meeting, Mayor Joe Lockwood and councilmember Peyton Jamison agreed that they could not foresee a company deploying rentable scooters in Milton given its limited commercial areas, but the request for an occupational tax license shows there is at least some interest.
Austin said Milton could permit the use of the shareable devices while enacting stipulations within the ordinance such as where they could be used or that riders must wear a helmet. However, it would still present an enforcement issue to Milton police, he said.
Milton could also join an expanding list of cities banning the use of the rentable devices, including neighboring Alpharetta.