Orange County has banned scooters and e-bikes for safety reasons
Electric scooters and bike rentals are popular at Orlando and Central Florida universities, and after April 3, they will not be allowed to be used in the I-Drive area or anywhere else in unregistered Orange County.
County commissioners last week voted unanimously to suspend operations, saying they needed to carefully study rented mobile devices.The initiative has been endorsed by the Tourism Corridor International Drive Business Improvement Area.
The injunction does not affect whether Orlando or UCF has taken its own set of electric scooters for rental, although the Novel Coronavirus pandemic is exercising many rental machines to do nothing.
Four of Orlando's five suppliers of electric scooters recently suspended operations, a city spokeswoman said.
Rents have fallen sharply with the increase of the pandemic.
On the busiest ride day in March, before Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings ordered from home, sellers reported rent in Orlando of more than 3,900.But by March 24, the number of rides had plunged below 300.
County officials are also concerned about how riders can spread sidewalks over bikes and scooters, creating a barrier for pedestrians or people using electric wheelchairs.
As early as November 2018, county officials were concerned about what they saw in Orlando.
Jon Weiss, the director of orange County's community, Environment and Development services, returned from lunch and sent an email to his transportation colleagues, including Mark Massaro, then the director of public works.
"I saw a lot of bright green lime-e bikes parked on intersections and sidewalks.
They are gpS-tagged but not locked, so anyone can take them from anywhere and put them anywhere.
I can easily see the potential for this to become an ADA and a maintenance nightmare."
ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act, a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in all areas of public life.
The law was enacted in 1990 to ensure that persons with disabilities enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
Karyn Barber, an Orlando spokeswoman, said the city had received more than 60 online complaints about electric scooters since January 21 and March 24.
Inconvenience of parking is the most common complaint, Barber said.
Suppliers Lime, Spin, Wheel and Bird have stopped operating in the city.
But the Lynx City scooter and The HOPR bike are still running.
UCF started with 300 electric scooters on campus in January, but soon added 150.
The university's student government has an exclusive contract for a one-year pilot program with Spin, a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company, which reported more than 20,000 rides in its first month on campus.
These devices are limited to the campus because "virtual fencing" prevents them from leaving the campus.
Spin is currently pulling its electric scooters from campus because it is currently not attending classes for public health reasons, said Rachel Williams, a university spokeswoman.
"When campus operations return to normal, that means services will be restored," she said.
When campus operations return to normal, the bike-sharing program "UCF Bike N Gold" will also return.
Alec Dian, founder of Newt Mobility, objected unsuccessfully to the ban.
Kishimi's supplier is one of two companies offering electric scooter rentals in the I-Drive area.
"It will completely destroy our company," he said.
Several commissioners have raised concerns about the safety of scooters, which can reach top speeds of up to 20 MPH.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings notes that the machines seem to be everywhere.
"I see them all over the administration building, in the flower beds and in the parking lot, in the middle of the parking lot, in the middle of the road," he said."Sometimes it causes some trouble."