By Henri Hollis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
(CNT) City News Talk #atlanta-ga
Athens-Clarke County’s united government has voted to permanently ban shareable electric scooters, including those from well-known companies like Bird and Lime.
Prior to this week’s vote, shareable scooters were temporarily banned while a government committee studied their potential impact on the community. The University of Georgia banned the scooters soon after they appeared on campus in 2018. The mayor and commission’s unanimous vote makes the temporary ban permanent.
In an Oct. 6 session, Mayor Kelly Girtz joked that the scooters were “the kind that were piled up at the end of my block for many months.” The ban does not extend to shareable electric bicycles or personal electric scooters.
Several cities around metro area have enacted temporary or permanent bans on dockless, shareable electric scooters.
While Atlanta has not banned the scooters, it has added new regulations around their use and requires companies to obtain a permit to operate their fleets in the city. Scooter companies have been ravaged this year by the coronavirus pandemic and the associated lockdowns, making scooters a much less visible presence in the city — though they are slowly returning as restrictions have been lifted.
This week’s Athens-Clarke commission meeting also included a vote on a settlement with a woman suing the local government after an incident in 2018 in which she was hit by a police car. The commission unanimously approved a $400,00 settlement with Mamie Dunn, though the government did not admit liability or fault. Dunn’s suit claimed that she suffered a broken leg, broken arm, pelvic fracture and neck fracture. She was seeking $1 million.
According to the resolution approved by the commission, an Athens-Clarke police officer hit Dunn with his cruiser as she was crossing the street. The officer took a left at a green light and hit Dunn while she was in a pedestrian crosswalk. However, it was a dark, rainy night and police determined the officer had not been negligent even though he was at fault.