JACKSONVILLE, FL - When the news broke about the City of Jacksonville beginning a new electric scooter sharing program in downtown Jacksonville, people were excited. However, now that the e-scooters are here, problems are beginning to curb all of the excitement. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, they have arrested at least one rider, and another rider was involved in a hit-and-run accident.
According to the victim involved in a hit-by-car incident, she was riding an e-scooter when a vehicle that was leaving a parking garage located at 11 East Forsyth Street struck her and then drove off. The hit-and-run victim stated that she did not report the event until the following day. Since both parties left the accident scene, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office does not create a crash report but documents the situation as an "informational" document.
In another Jacksonville Sheriff's Office incident, an 18-year-old was arrested by a Jacksonville Sheriff's deputy when the e-scooter operator was carelessly operating an e-scooter and then ran a red light in front of a deputy. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office criminal arrest report, a deputy in a patrol car was at a red light at the intersection of North Laura Street and Forsythe Street. The deputy observed the e-scooter rider driving the e-scooter into the center of the intersection, stepped off the scooter, picked up the scooter's front wheel, and then looked at the Sheriff's deputy.
The deputy orally ordered the suspect not to run the red light. However, the suspect proceeded to ride into the center of the intersection, and the rider eventually ran the red light. The e-scooter operator then continued to drive down North Laura Street.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's deputy then pursued the suspect, who was veering back and forth between the road's right and left lane. The arrest report states that the suspect was crossing the double yellow line each time. The deputy then turned on his siren and lights and attempted to pull over the e-scooter rider. However, the suspect continued to ride the scooter and continued to ignore the deputy's attempts to pull the suspect over.
The e-scooter rider was eventually stopped after he struck a sidewalk curb, and the scooter driver was arrested.
The suspect's arrest report lists three offenses, failure to obey traffic control device (sign), resisting an officer with violence, and bicycle operator failure to ride as close as practical to the right side of a two-way street.
According to the charge of "bicycle operator failure to ride as close as practical to the right side of a two-way street," Florida Statute 316.2065 Bicycle Regulations states that a person who is operating a bicycle on the road and is moving at less than the speed of traffic must use a bicycle lane. If no bicycle lane is available, the cyclist must ride along the right-hand curb or ride as far to the right as possible.
The news report states that the issue with e-scooters is the common failure of drivers to safely operate the motorized e-scooters and obey Florida traffic laws. The issue has become a dangerous and rampant issue since many businesses have begun to offer motorized scooters available for rent.
According to the Downtown Investment Authority, the rules of operation can be found online and include: listed online, which include:
- All riders must be 16+ years old to rent and ride an e-scooter.
- There is a 10 mph speed limit when operating an e-scooter on a sidewalk.
- There is a 15 mph speed limit when operating the scooter in the right of way.
- Riders should wear a motorcycle helmet while operating an e-scooter.
The e-scooter program is only a one-year pilot program, and city officials could make the program permanent as long as the program is "in the best interests of the city."