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Are E-Scooters Allowed on the Atlanta BeltLine?
Earlier this year, the Atlanta City Council voted to enforce stricter regulations on e-scooters, like Bird and Lime. We covered these new regulations in a previous edition of the newsletter, but as the weather improves, more of these e-scooters are taken to the streets. Some have ended up in places they are actually forbidden to be.
The Wrong Kind of Bird Watching
The Atlanta BeltLine is one of the largest, most wide-ranging urban redevelopment programs in the United States. Based on former railroad corridors that formerly encircled Atlanta, the planned 33 miles of multi-use trails are meant to provide pedestrians safe access to schools, housing, jobs, and amenities. The BeltLine has become a hot spot for new parks, art installations, and e-scooters. However, despite their popularity, e-scooters are not allowed on the BeltLine.
Motorized vehicles are strictly forbidden from the multi-use pathways of the BeltLine. Electric wheelchairs and official government vehicles are the only exceptions. Yet despite this rule, and Bird’s own app marking the Eastside Trail as “forbidden” this summer, you’ll likely still see e-scooters zipping along the BeltLine. Most people aren’t aware that electric scooters, which are often left along the trail, aren’t allowed.
Mismanagement has created a strong outcry against e-scooters, but this form of public transportation can be beneficial, when used safely. If you intend on using an e-scooter this summer, keep these safety tips in mind:
- Wear a helmet. Plan ahead for your e-scooter trip and bring along a federally regulated helmet. The speed limit for e-scooters in Atlanta is 15 mph max, which is still fast enough to cause serious harm if your wreck while not wearing a helmet.
- Ride solo. Bird and Lime e-scooters are only designed to carry one rider at a time. Doubling up increases your chances of an accident.
- Check the equipment. Before you hop on a public e-scooter, check the tire treads and test the brake, throttle, and lights. If anything isn’t working, report the damage and find another scooter.
- Stay aware. Treat riding e-scooters the same way you would treat getting behind the wheel of a car. Don’t operate an e-scooter after you’ve been drinking, watch for pedestrians, use caution around cars, and stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Make sure you are allowed to use an e-scooter in a given area before starting your ride.
E-scooters look like they’re here to stay, so we must all do our part to make sure they are used safely.