Brentwood looks at preemptive ban of rental scooters within city limits


Brentwood looks at preemptive ban of rental scooters within city limits

A Lyft motorized scooter is seen near Acklen Avenue on June 17, 2019 in Nashville, Tenn. Photo by Rachael Long

By RACHAEL LONG 

Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar recently noted to city commissioners that the city had not received any indication that scooter companies have an interest in beginning service in Brentwood.

But at the recent City Commission informational meeting in early June, Bednar said city staff had discussed implementing a commercial scooter ban within city limits to proactively avoid potential safety issues.

The state of Tennessee recently passed legislation — signed into law effective July 1 — which allows municipalities, counties or metropolitan governments the right to regulate, control or ban the use and operation of electric scooters within their geographic boundaries.

“The history of these companies in nearby cities like Nashville is that, absent any local regulations, they just show up and unload the scooters,” Bednar stated. “Given the very real safety and operational challenges that have been identified in Nashville and other cities across the country, it seems reasonable that we should have regulations in place before any scooter company decides to operate in Brentwood.”

When it was first discussed with City Commissioners on June 6, Bednar mentioned drafting an ordinance to bring before the commission which would place an effective ban on commercial scooters in Brentwood. The ordinance has yet to be drafted and a timeline for one yet to be determined, according to Bednar.

During the discussion with commissioners, Bednar mentioned that any kind of city-implemented ban would likely be on commercial scooters and not those privately owned by individuals. However, in email correspondence with Home Page this week, Bednar clarified that the city is still reviewing state law to determine how best to draft an ordinance.

When asked if the scooter industry “fit” the city of Brentwood or if the city would ever consider allowing commercial scooters, Bednar said a ban would not be irrevocable to the city’s code.

“If a ban is enacted now, the City Commission could always come back and amend the regulations to allow them in the future under whatever limitations might be deemed appropriate,” Bednar stated. “I think we need to see the scooter issue evolve more in other communities before we could say whether Brentwood is a ‘fit’ for this industry long-term.

“But right now there seem to be too many negative aspects to what is happening in other cities to think that we are a good “fit” today.”

According to current city rules, Bednar said scooters — and other motorized vehicles — are not allowed on the city’s trail system.

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