City of St. Petersburg to decide on e-scooters Thursday

There's no sign of electric scooters anywhere in downtown St. Petersburg - yet.

City council voted Thursday to move forward, following the first reading of an ordinance that would govern and bring two to four e-scooter vendors to the city.

Many have seen them lying on sidewalks around Tampa and commuters and residents on the Hillsborough side of the bay are fairly familiar with them by now. It goes without saying, Tampa has seen its fair share of problems with riders bringing the scooters where they're not supposed to be, leaving them where they're not allowed and causing anxiety for some drivers.

One rider was killed over the summer when he veered into traffic on a busy downtown street. The rollout in Tampa is serving as somewhat of an unintended pilot program for other nearby cities including St. Pete. 

Unlike Tampa, St. Pete says it will forbid them from being on sidewalks, and they must be put back in corrals not left in random places. The city would also limit operating hours to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. 

St. Pete's program would also ban anyone younger than 18 from using an e-scooter. Parents or guardians could get hit with a penalty for knowingly allowing a minor to ride. As in Tampa, there would be no-go zones in St. Pete -- including along downtown waterfront trails and the pier. 

City of St. Petersburg Transportation and Parking Director Evan Mory said rules will create hopefully competition in the scooter marketplace.

"We'll be looking to see what company can do that better than others," Mory said.

Before a final vote to move forward with a scooter program, St. Pete will have a meeting Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. where the public can comment.