Scooter Riders: Follow the Law, Wear a Helmet, Don’t Ride at Night

Fall semester begins with a new scooter curfew in Atlanta after four deadly accidents in the metro area.
Bird electric scooters parked near a bike rack on campus. (Photo: Joshua Stewart)

Bird electric scooters parked near a bike rack on campus. (Photo: Joshua Stewart)

After a dangerous summer in Atlanta for electric scooter riders, the fall semester begins with new limitations on the use of these vehicles and a reminder from police about where — and how — to ride them safely.

Four people in metro Atlanta were struck and killed while riding the popular scooters between May and August, the first such deaths in the area. As a result, the city of Atlanta has stopped issuing permits for new scooter companies and banned the use of dockless e-bikes and scooters at night.

That has the Georgia Tech Police Department focusing on making sure riders know about the new restrictions and ride safely.

“If you ride a scooter, know the law,” said Sgt. Keith LeCounte with GTPD’s Community Outreach and Engagement unit. “Some people are unaware, but you have to obey traffic laws while riding a scooter, such as stopping for red lights and stop signs as well as yielding for pedestrians.”

The city’s new curfew extends from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. The city has directed the scooter and e-bike companies to disable their devices during these hours. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered the nighttime ban starting Aug. 9 after the fourth scooter-related death in 11 weeks, including three in the city. In each case, riders were struck by a vehicle at night or in the early morning.

“Having a variety of mobility options is critical to any city, but safety must be our top priority,” Bottoms said in a statement announcing the curfew. “This nighttime ban, while we continue to develop further long-term measures, will ensure the safest street conditions for scooter riders, motorists, cyclists, those in wheelchairs and pedestrians.”

Atlanta city ordinances require riding dockless bikes and scooters in bike lanes or in the right lane of roads, not on sidewalks.

“We tell people, ‘move to the streets if you’re not using your feet,’” LeCounte said.

On campus, the devices are permitted on any shared pathway — like the sidewalks around Tech Green or along Atlantic Drive. But police said riders should go slow in these crowded areas. They’re also encouraging riders to wear a helmet and park scooters out of the flow of foot traffic.

“Although Georgia Tech police will enforce all ordinances and codes, over the last year we have focused on helping people understand that these laws and regulations are vital for their safety and the safety of others,” said Georgia Tech Police Chief Rob Connolly. “We have seen too many injuries resulting from improper use of mobility devices.”

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