In the name of pedestrian safety, motorized vehicles such as Segways are no longer allowed in certain areas of Miami Beach — much to the disappointment of tour operators.
An ordinance to that effect, sponsored by Commissioner Jonah Wolfson, was approved at Wednesday’s City Commission meeting.
Segways and other motorized vehicles already are prohibited in some areas. Additionally, they are no longer allowed in the following place:.
• The Beachwalk between 15th and 23rd streets, and between 64th and 79th streets.
• Lummus Park promenade between Fifth and 15th streets.
• The sidewalks on the east side of Ocean Drive between South Pointe Drive and 15th Street.
• The South Pointe Park walkway adjacent and parallel to Government Cut.
• The Marina Baywalk adjacent and parallel to Biscayne Bay and south of Fifth Street.
Motorized vehicles have been prohibited since 2012 from the following areas:
• Interior pathways of South Pointe Park and Collins Park.
• On the sidewalk on the west side of Ocean Drive between South Pointe Park and 15th Street.
• Anywhere on Lincoln Road from the west sidewalk of Washington Avenue to the east sidewalk of Alton Road.
Tour operators claimed the new rules will kill business. Julio Lopez owns Family Trikke, a business on Washington Avenue that rents Segways.
“We deal with tourism,” Lopez said. “Hotels send me clients all the time.”
Another operator, who refused to identify himself to the Miami Herald, told commissioners: “So many people like to tour the city in different ways. . . . So many people love to ride these things, and it’s not fair.”
But residents told about getting run over by Segways. Commissioner Deede Weithorn said she had recently been hit while riding her bike.
“Segways are a nightmare,” said resident Clotilde Luce.
Commissioner Michael Grieco noted that Segways would still be allowed in other areas of the city. He told the operators: “This does not stop you from being on Ocean Drive, on the street. And if you’re going to tell me that’s not safe, you know what? Welcome to the world of the pedestrians,” he said. “We have strollers and kids and walkers and people who are trying to get down the street.”
Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez, who recently joined Miami Beach after serving in Hollywood, told commissioners that his former seaside city prohibits motorized vehicles on its Broadwalk.
It also could soon be illegal to ride your bike on Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach.
A proposal to outlaw bicycle riding on the promenade, between 9 a.m. and 2 a.m. passed a preliminary vote on Wednesday.
The new law was proposed by Weithorn in response to complaints that pedestrians get run over by people on bicycles.
To become law, the proposal needs to pass two votes by the City Commission.
If passed, bicyclists would still be allowed to walk their bicycles on the mall at any time, and new signage would be installed to let riders know about the restrictions.