Scooters are back — at least on Miracle Mile.
On Monday, Coral Gables launched a test program with Spin, a San Francisco-based dockless scooter company, to allow the two-wheelers to be used on its city streets.
“There’s a lot of traffic around Miami these days,” said City Commissioner Vince Lago, who led the initiative to bring the scooters to the city. “They’re gonna help.”
An initial fleet was released in front of city hall Monday.
According to Spin, it’s the first time a company has received formal approval to operate shared scooters in the State of Florida.
The agreement comes on the heels of the City of Miami’s July decision to temporarily bar all scooter companies until it can hammer out new rules for the vehicles, which are growing in popularity across the country. Coral Gables, too, had issued cease-and-desist letters to multiple scooter companies. But Lago said Spin had been scrupulous about working with the city and foregoing a “rogue” release of its vehicles without formal permission. That cooperation led to the approval.
Spin’s President, Euwyn Poon, said the launch “shows how Spin’s unique approach of working closely with cities from the beginning is actually the right way to bring innovative mobility solutions to our nation’s communities.”
Coral Gables’ pilot program with Spin prohibits parking or riding the scooters where they will interfere with pedestrian access. No more than 75 scooters can be deployed at any one time. They will only be permitted between Douglas Road (SW 37th Avenue) and Red Road (SW 57th Avenue) and north of Blue Road, to SW 8th Street.
Scooters will not be permitted in Giralda Plaza or any crowded sidewalks, including those on Miracle Mile. Scooters will be out around 7 a.m. in the morning and collected starting around 8 p.m. nightly.
The pilot program runs through Aug. 28. At that time, the city will consider whether to keep the scooters around for longer.
Because of the limited release, Spin will recharge the scooters. (In some other cities, locals can earn money charging the scooters at night.) Spin workers will pick up scooters each evening and replace them in the morning.
The city is requesting scooters be parked at or near a bike rack. Otherwise, riders should park close to the edge of the sidewalk closest to the street. Riders should park the scooter in such a way that it does not block the sidewalk, business entrances, doors, or ramps.
Lago said there has been an ongoing lack of leadership in Miami-Dade when it comes to finding transportation solutions.
“We’ve had 20 years of a lack of leadership in Miami-Dade County when it comes to transportation,” he said. “The implementation of the half-penny tax has been a debacle...And the lack of progress on the smart plan is hindering efforts to get cars off the road.”
Joshua Montoya, a manager at No Boundaries bike shop in Coral Gables, said he believes the scooters can help take cars off the road. But he also believes it may take some time for drivers and scooter riders to learn how to share the road. According to CNET, Spin scooters can reach up to 15 miles per hour.
“Drivers are not used to seeing the speed that some of these scooters catch,” he said.