During the first Mayoral forum of the election year, Mayor Briley said that he plans to reevaluate the viability of scooters in Nashville.
“We adopted a regulation some months ago to experiment with scooters, and that experiment has failed,” he said. “We have got to look at it again to see how to improve on it. I had the opportunity to speak to the mother of the young man who died last week, and anytime we have that sense of loss in the community with something that we put out there, we have to go back and readdress the decision.”
The very next day, the mayor sent a letter to scooter companies informing them that they have 30 days to fix their public safety and sidewalk accessibility problems, or the city will file legislation to ban them.
In the letter, Mayor Briley references Brady Gaulke, a 26 year-old Nashville resident who was killed in a scooter accident, saying that his death “has further emphasized the dangers associated with urban scooter riding.” The family of Gaulke has started a campaign to have scooter banned in the city.
Briley’s letter reads as follows:
“Nashville prides itself in being a friendly and welcoming city for the thousands of tourists visiting us each month, but we must also be a safe city,” said Briley. “Based upon what I have witnessed firsthand, the recent influx of scooters in our city is causing us to be less safe and more visually cluttered. The death of Brady Gaulke, a 26-year-old Nashville resident who suffered a serious scooter accident last week, has further emphasized the dangers associated with urban scooter riding. The Nashville Fire Department responded to 43-scooter injury calls in the month of April alone. Something has to change.
“Since scooters descended upon Nashville prior to the city having any regulatory framework in place, the Metropolitan Government has been trying to deal with the issue in a reasonable and responsible way. The Metropolitan Council has attempt through the enactment of two ordinances to impose reasonable regulations and restrictions on scooter companies and riders. These include: parking restrictions, including a specific requirement that scooters be parked in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); age restrictions for riders, and a prohibition on riding on sidewalks in commercial areas. While each of the above provisions is violated many times daily, the metropolitan Government simply does not have the resources to devote to adequately address all of the problems through enforcement. Of further concern to me are the many scooters that are illegally parked and operated on the sidewalk, which makes it almost impossible for persons with disabilities to navigate. This is a great liability for the Metropolitan Government, and one that cannot be allowed to persist.
“I have asked the Department of Law to draft legislation repealing the existing scooter regulations and banning their operation. If I do not see a proposal from the operators amending the current ordinances to address the above concerns within the next 30 days, I will ask the Metro Council to approve this legislation.”
In reply, Bird, one of the largest scooter providers in Nashville said, “Bird has worked hard to make our service stand out as a responsible, equitable transportation solution in Nashville. 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.”
Lyft and Lime scooter companies released similar statements.