South Padre Island puts the brakes on rental scooter companies

From The Valley Morning Star

Council members appear to be headed toward creating a temporary ordinance against motorized assisted scooters.

City Council member Joe Ricco said a scooter rental company based in San Antonio, named Blue Duck, is interested in bringing its rental scooters to the Island and met with city officials last week.

Blue Duck’s motorized standup scooters have a platform to stand on, upright handlebars, a toggle to speed up and a brake to reduce speed.

Before use, the rental scooter company requires users to download the Blue Duck app and sign a rental agreement/waiver of liability and release that outlines several requirements, such as being at least 18 years old, weighing 220 pounds or less and obeying local laws while operating the scooter.

Users are charged $1 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents per minute of usage.

“There are currently about half a dozen of these companies in Texas and right now I see nothing but challenges with this group in our immediate future,” Ricco said. “This last weekend a man died in Austin in a scooter accident.”

City officials said they want more time to research potential impacts of rental scooters to prevent any problems for the Island.

“What these companies like to do is drop off a whole bunch of scooters. I believe it was Bird who came with 500 scooters in San Antonio overnight and dropped them off,” Ricco said. “There were no regulations in place, and it’s created a lot of hardships for the city because they weren’t ready for this.”

Ricco said he does not want to see the city be in a similar situation, especially with Spring Break and Easter coming up.

The council is expected to continue discussion on the temporary ordinance against motorized assisted scooters in the next city Council meeting.

HOW IT WORKS

1. Locate a scooter using the Blue Duck app.

2. Register the scooter by scanning it with the app.

3. Travel to your destination.

4. Park the scooter at a dockless destination.

MORE INFORMATION

WHAT — Blue Duck electric rental scooters

COST — $1 to unlock the scooter and 15 cents per minute