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When are Electric Scooters coming to Tampa and Will They Cause Injuries?
Tampa is getting ready to welcome e-scooters to its streets as part of its new Shared Motorized Scooter Pilot Program. If all goes according to plan, around 2,000 electric scooters will be introduced into certain areas of Tampa in February 2019.
In October, Tampa’s city government announced they would be accepting applications from ride-sharing companies till November until November 9, 2018. No more than three companies who meet Tampa’s safety requirements will be allowed to operate during this one-year pilot program.
According to BizJournals.com, a few of the big name companies that have sent in their applications to Tampa include Bird, JUMP, and Skip. Other companies also vying for this position include Coast Bike Share, Sharp Marketing, RSA Consulting Group, and Skinny Labs.
One company conspicuously absent from the Tampa application list was Lime. Based in San Francisco, Lime is a leader in the e-scooter space with devices in hundreds of cities around the world. Floridians can currently ride on Lime e-scooters in cities like North Bay Village, Key Biscayne, and certain areas in Miami.
In addition to looking into how these e-scooter companies promote safety through educational campaigns, Tampa officials want these companies to freely share financial data with the city. All companies that apply must also be financially stable and willing to share safety data with the city throughout the program.
During the pilot, city planners will allow no more than 300 e-scooters in each of the four designated areas in the city. The four locations participating in this pilot program include downtown and the areas north, east, and west of downtown.
One exception to this 300 e-scooter limit is the area between Martin Luther King Boulevard and East Columbus Drive. About 600 e-scooters could be allowed on these streets.
Will electric scooters result in injuries?
To help increase street safety during this e-scooter rollout, public safety officials are planning to create 180 designated areas where Tampa riders can place their e-scooters. One of the major issues surrounding e-scooter use in major cities has to do with parking these devices in hazardous areas like on sidewalks.
In most cities, scooters must ride on streets or in bike lanes. However in Tampa, scooters will likely only be ridden on sidewalks. Injuries from these scooters are likely to include head injuries from people falling off of them and injured pedestrians who are hit by scooters. In many other parts of the country, cars have hit scooter riders. To help reduce some of these potential injuries, Tampa is asking scooter companies to govern their scooters so they max out at 8MPH.
After this year-long pilot program is up, safety experts will review the data from the different participating companies. Tampa will then most likely pick one company to operate throughout the entire city.