Clearwater passes temporary ban on e-scooters

Clearwater is pumping the brakes on bringing motorized scooters to its streets, passing a 6-month ban Wednesday.

The ban is only temporary, but comes on the heels of e-scooters being launched in downtown Tampa -with excitement and problems.

“I would let Tampa test it out before they bring it to our city,” said Kaitlin Moan of Clearwater.

Scooter companies Lime and Spin already approached the city.

“It would be interesting. I’d like to see how it would affect the traffic patterns,” said Ryan Morgan of Clearwater. “I personally probably wouldn’t use them, but I’m not opposed to them being here.”

City leaders said they will use the time to figure out how to regulate them.

“We’ll be talking to those cities that have permitted them, and we hope to learn from their experience,” said Bill Horne, the city manager of Clearwater.

Some who live in the city said they have ideas about where to put them, like Clearwater Beach.

“Take them to where the tourists are. Everybody is paying to have a bike. Everybody is paying to have a little motorized car. So why not take it to where the people are willing to actually pay for it and put it back?” said Andrea Lozada-Savala.

But narrow sidewalks and congestion at the beach are a problem, so city leaders are eyeing downtown, Horne said. While Tampa currently allows the scooters only on sidewalks, a bill awaiting the governor’s signature could open them up to the streets.

“I’ve been close to getting clipped a couple of times just walking out the crosswalk, so I would definitely want to keep them on the sidewalks,” said Morgan.

It’s a safety concern city leaders will factor in over the next 180 days.

“They may have a place here, but we just have to determine, well, where is it?” said Horne.

The city will spend the next six months looking issues like how fast the scooters would go, where to allow them, and DUI concerns. The city manager said the companies are willing to work with them on those challenges.