It all started a couple months ago! While I was driving around Wynwood I spotted a single funny looking electric scooter standing on the corner of 32nd St and N Miami Ave.
At first, I thought to myself: “I would never leave my scooter unattended like that on the street”. I quickly recognized the colors as being from the company Lime Bike and realized this was a scooter sharing service, The Lime-S.
Fast forward a month and a half and the same scooters started to appear all over Brickell. After a week or so of seeing more and more, I was intrigued to try one out. On a very hot day I needed to go a few blocks away and there it was, a Lime-S conveniently waiting at the corner of my building, so I jumped on!
I move around Brickell on my skateboard most of the time and it can get pretty sweaty during hot days! This option, as dorky as it looks, was very convenient and sweat-free.
On June 1st, I spotted another electric scooter. This one looked like a privately owned scooter, more sleek with a sober matte black color. A block away, there were 3 more, perfectly lined up right next to the Tenth Street Promenade Metromover Station, a couple more in Mary Brickell Village, all with the word BIRD on them… “wait a minute” I said in my mind as I realized it had begun!...
The electric scooter invasion had come to Miami the same way it happened in many cities around the country like Austin, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington, San Francisco, to mention a few. There are now two different companies providing the same concept of Ride Sharing Electric Vehicles in our city.
Bird and Lime have different branding, slightly different scooter models, and different apps (see videos below), but the service is the same; a fast, convenient and (almost) sweat-free way to commute to work or run errands around town.
I tried both electric scooters during the weekend and made a review about them on my personal Youtube Channel. You can watch it below:
In a city where excessive traffic is a common problem, this new transportation concept has a high chance of succeeding. It can increase the city’s attractiveness as well as help reduce the carload on the roads, not to mention, reduce carbon emissions in a highly populated area.
However, there are some negatives this new technology can bring. Other cities are already experiencing problems such as scooters being left in the middle of the sidewalk obstructing the right of way, users dashing around pedestrians on congested walkways, etc.
Some cities have started to impound scooters that are left unattended on streets. In San Francisco, a cease-and-desist letter was sent to 3 companies (Lime, Bird & Spin) operating electric scooters, asking them to remove every one of them by Monday, June 4th. The companies have been advised to apply for a permit to operate (find more info in this SF Chronicle Article). Just as fast as they appeared, hundreds of scooters disappeared from the Tech City’s streets. Denver is also taking similar actions (see this Denver Business Journal Article).
It’s hard to tell how the City of Miami will react and what regulations it will impose for electric scooter companies to be able to operate.
Only time will tell, but the truth is that we are in a new era where new technologies are emerging in the streets faster than cities can cope with them. Hopefully, all parties involved will work together to find a way to coexist and provide viable, eco-friendly transit solutions.