NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Amidst a myriad of scooter-related injuries throughout Nashville - including one that caused the death of 26-year-old Brady Gaulke - Mayor David Briley has sent a letter to seven of the scooter companies in Nashville, saying that if they don't clean up the way they operate in 30 days, scooters will be banned.
The seven companies that received the letter comprise Bird, Lime, Jump, Bolt Mobility, Lyft, Spin and Gotcha Mobility.
In the letter, Mayor Briley says the Nashville Fire Department responded to 43 scooter injury calls in the month of April alone.
Mayor Briley also points out that because scooters were placed around the city before Nashville had any regulatory framework in place, Metro government has tried to deal with their arrival reasonably and responsibly. This includes parking restrictions, age restrictions for riders and prohibiting the riding of scooters on sidewalks in commercial areas.
Despite the city's attempt to keep scooter use regulated, the provisions that have been put in place are violated every day, and the city simply lacks the resources to enforce the regulations.
"We can't keep taxing our police officers and everything else," said Metro Councilman Steve Glover. "We can't keep dumping more responsibilities on them and then not allowing our tourists and the people to come to visit us in Nashville, the ones, especially disabled, to come enjoy our downtown area because a couple of businesses have decided they're going to quote 'give us a dollar a day', or whatever it is we get out of it. I think we need to be the grown ups in the room and say enough is enough right now."
Glover and several other council members join the mayor in calling for the scooters to be removed from the streets if something doesn't change.
Council woman Kathleen Murphy released this statement: "Nashville is clearly over run with so many of them. It doesn’t seem the customers follow or are aware of the rules put in place for their safety and the companies do not care to enforce rules. They have become an ADA issue, a safety issue and must be reigned in and soon. "
Councilman Jeff Syracuse said he would've liked infrastructure for the scooters before they were placed in the city.
"I think at the end of the day what we have learned that these are a nuisance to pedestrians. They're a safety hazard. And so, we certainly put the cart before the horse where we don't have proper infrastructure to dock these things, to park them, to place them in safe locations," he said.
Councilman Freddie O'Connell said he doesn't believe the companies have displayed a willingness to address safety concerns with the schools.
Mayor Briley finally says he has asked for legislation banning scooter operation to be drafted. If he does not receive a proposal from the companies that oversee the scooters in the next 30 days, he will ask Metro Council to approve said legislation.
Mayor Briley's letter to the scooter companies is below.
The family of Gaulke started this petition Thursday to remove scooters from the streets.
A Bird spokesperson released the following statement:
“Bird has worked hard to make our service stand out as a responsible, equitable transportation solution in Nashville. We love this city and its residents who have embraced the e-scooter movement as one that improves their way of life. Bird has taken a number of proactive steps to lead the industry forward and serve our communities. In Nashville specifically, we have been responsive to city requests for No Ride Zones, we’ve conducted consistent safety education outreach, and we offer Community Mode, our in-app reporting feature that allows anyone in the city the ability to report instances of improper/sidewalk riding and poor parking. We also employ full-time Birdwatchers in Nashville whose sole job is to ensure Birds are respectfully parked in the community. Thousands of Nashville residents rely on Bird as a way to get around, and we don't think banning e-scooters entirely is the answer. Our hope is to continue working with Mayor Briley and Metro Council on solutions to address concerns about the current e-scooter program so that our service can remain in Nashville.”
A Lyft spokesperson released the following statement:
“Lyft is committed to providing communities with mobility options that help to reduce congestion and improve transportation access. Lyft scooters play a key role in achieving these goals. We look forward to partnering with Nashville leaders in the month ahead as we ensure that all transportation options, including scooters, are working well for local residents.”
A Lime spokesperson released the following statement:
"At Lime, our number one priority is keeping visitors and residents safe in the 100+ markets we serve. We've done this worldwide since day one through our Respect the Ride campaign, which educates riders globally about safety and responsible riding. In addition, we’ve launched a first-of-its-kind micromobility Safety Ambassador Program and distributed over 250,000 helmets to-date. We look forward to working collaboratively with Mayor Briley to create a proposal that ensures this city remains safe and welcoming for residents, visitors and businesses alike.
Lime has recently led several safety initiatives, including:
- The launch of the Lime Gen 3 scooter with enhanced safety features, including upgraded wheels, better suspension, additional braking and improved balance.
- Global leader protecting each ride with $1 million in liability insurance.
- Investing more than $3 million in our Respect the Ride campaign to educate riders about safety and responsible riding.
- Dedicated Customer Support and Trust, Education and Safety teams available to riders 24/7.
- Convenors of an industry-wide Education and Safety Summit on micromobility."