Mayor Briley moves to ban scooter companies

Following the death of Brady Gaulke, Mayor Briley has moved to ban Nashville scooter companies.

Nashville mayor, David Briley, is calling for the ban of public scooters. In May, following the death of Brady Gaulke, a 26 year-old Nashville resident who was killed in a scooter accident, Briley sent a letter to scooter companies. In the letter he informed them that they had 30 days to fix their public safety and sidewalk accessibility problems, or the city will file legislation to ban them. Since then, Briley says that feedback he has received from scooter companies has been insufficient.

“I have asked the Metro Legal Director to draft an amendment to pending Metro Council legislation that would terminate the existing scooter pilot program, immediately remove all electric scooters from Nashville streets, and direct the Transportation Licensing Commission to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) within 90 days of the Council’s approval of the ordinance,” said Briley in a released statement. “The purpose of the RFP would be to consider adding back one or two operators to provide a limited number of scooters if they are able to meet our requirements for safety and accessibility.

“The safety of all Nashville residents, workers and visitors has always been my primary concern since scooters hit the streets a year ago. I look forward to a resolution that meets that need.”

Ryan McConaghy, executive director of the Micromobility Coalition, issued the following statement after Nashville Mayor David Briley called for an end to the current e-scooter pilot program:

“Mayor Briley’s reactionary decision unnecessarily threatens to take away what has fast become a core part of the city’s transportation network and the economic opportunities it provides. E-scooter operators are actively engaged in providing guidance and education to riders, and have been working with city leaders in a cooperative fashion. Given these commitments to safety, Mayor Briley’s decision is very disappointing. We urge the city council to abandon the mayor’s plan, which would deny thousands of people in Nashville the affordable, convenient, and eco-friendly benefits of micro-mobility.”

According to a study by Walk Bike Nashville, since May 2018, more than 1.8 million trips have been taken on e-scooters: approximately 10,000 per day; and over 60,000 users have taken more than five trips on e-scooters over the past year.

Walk Bike Nashville believes that scooters could be a hugely beneficial mode of transportation for Nashville, and that the responsibility for making them safe depends on the actions of the scooter companies and on the actions of Metro Nashville government.

“Over the past year there have 75 people killed in cars, 24 people killed while walking, and one person killed while riding a scooter,” said Nora Kern, executive director of Walk Bike Nashville. “Rather than limiting transportation choices, we urge the mayor and Metro government to take a vision zero approach and use data to improve the safety of our roads by adding infrastructure like bike lanes. Our streets should be designed so that human mistakes don’t have to be fatal.”

According to Kern, “Scooters are clearly providing a popular transportation option. Nashville currently has construction permits out that will add 40,000 workers to downtown. We cannot fit more cars downtown, so scooters could be a critical part of how we move people around our urban areas, tourists and locals alike.”