ATLANTA — Beginning on Friday, you will no longer be allowed to ride an electric scooter or electric bike in the City of Atlanta after 9 p.m.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has directed the Department of City Planning to implement a daily citywide "No Ride Zone" from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. following recent deaths in the city -- all which have occurred when it was dark.
She said no permitted device will be rentable during this time period.
“It is evident that immediate action is necessary to keep Atlanta’s residents and visitors safe,” said Mayor Bottoms. “Sadly, we have seen a pattern in the recent and tragic fatalities involving scooters – they all occurred after sunset."
The city has informed electric scooter and bike companies operating in Atlanta of the change in policy and requested that they disable devices during the No Ride Zone.
"Having a variety of mobility options is critical to any city, but safety must be our top priority," Bottoms said. "This nighttime ban, while we continue to develop further long-term measures, will ensure the safest street conditions for scooter riders, motorists, cyclists, those in wheelchairs and pedestrians.”
The city is also taking additional steps to ensure safety with these devices. According to a news release, the measures include an accelerated plan for changes to the streets creating safer, dedicated spaces for cyclists and scooter riders.
They also said that a revised selection process will allow the city to choose a limited number of dockless vendors and enable the city to work in partnership with the selected vendors to "run a safer, more orderly dockless system." The expected selection process is anticipated to be completed by February 2020, the mayor's office said.
“As a major city, we believe there is potential in engineering the smart integration of this popular mode of transportation,” said Department of City Planning Commissioner Tim Keane. “The devices go a long way in providing last-mile connectivity and convenience to residents, students, businesses and visitors. But it is vital that we pause and assess how we move forward in a responsible way, with public safety always being the top priority.”
Monday, Mayor Bottoms introduced legislation to codify into City Code her executive order repealing the Department of City Planning’s authorization to issue new permits for sharable dockless mobility devices.
11Alive reached out Uber, Lime and Lyft - who each operate the devices in the city - for a comment on the ban. Uber and Lime have both responded to say they remain "deeply committed" to their customers' safety.
"We are focused on a comprehensive approach to road safety - one that focuses on people, products and infrastructure - and will continue working with the Atlanta City Council and the Administration while complying with these new rules," the company said.
They also added that they provided in-app safety tips to encourage riders to ride safely. They also said they have also given out free helmets across Atlanta, and have made them available at a discounted price online.
Lime, meanwhile, praised Bottoms for demonstrating "exemplary leadership on how to best provide micromobility services to Atlanta's residents and visitors alike."
They said they will comply with the Mayor's order and will continue to work with the city to ensure a safe environment for all road users so "Atlantans can continue to receive the benefits of a robust, low-cost, emission-free transportation system."
11Alive will update this story if any other companies respond.