#Asked: Should electric scooters come to Lakeland?

Editor Jessica Kurbatov scootering in Atlanta, GA | Photo by @jessicakurbatov

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A recently signed bill legalized electric scooters in Florida, allowing citizens to freely scoot on roads + in bike lanes. Tampa is currently experimenting with a yearlong pilot program that started in late May. About 20 vendors applied to be a part of their program and the city selected four: Spin, JUMP, Bird, and Lime. In a year, Tampa will revisit the operating agreements to decide if any changes should be made.

As one who recently rode an electric scooter in Atlanta (Jessica here), I’ve become a huge supporter + would be the first to scoot through the streets of LAL.

More than 85,000 electric scooters are in use in 100+ cities around the country, making them the newest commuting option (especially on college campuses). You just find a scooter, download the corresponding app, pay $0-$1 to start (with a valid driver’s license), and then anywhere from $0.07-$0.29 every minute after. Prices vary depending on company + city.

If bringing this mode of transportation to Lakeland was a possibility, we think safe routes could be made from downtown to the following places:

  • RP Funding Center 
  • Hyatt Place Lakeland Center
  • The Terrace Hotel
  • Florida Southern College
  • Southeastern University
  • Polk Museum of Art
  • Lakeland Public Library
  • Bonnet Springs Park

The upside to renting a dockless electric scooter: You can park it anywhere. But it turns out that’s also the downside.

Denver recently started impounding scooters that have been left strewn along sidewalks, often in what the city considers a pedestrian right-of-way. Most cities have made it clear they want to develop a better system for the dockless scooters rather than banning them entirely, but the solution is still a question mark.    

If scooters came to Lakeland, the question of safety would also arise. We could potentially run a pilot program like Tampa and give our city the chance to create safe routes + rules.

Here are some benefits of making our city scooter-able:

  • Visitors could have easy access for dining + shopping from the downtown hotels.
  • Some parking spaces would free up (especially during lunch hours in downtown)
  • This program would help build on the new New York Avenue Cycle Track, making Lakeland a more pedestrian + bike-friendly city.

Poll

– LALtoday team (Jessica + Kaylee)