Miami Beach Commissioners Proposing GPS Tracking for Rental Scooters Requirement

6 Feb 2019

After a raucous 2018 spring break season, Miami Beach made the move to ban rentals of motorized scooters for the entire month of March when thousands of young people flood the local landscape. Nearly 450 tickets were written to scooter drivers in March 2018, easily doubling, and then some, the combined total number of tickets written in the previous two months of the year.

For that reason, the City Commission deigned scooters to be a public safety concern and voted to ban their rental during the busiest month of the year. Some City Commissioners, though are beginning to rethink the ban, proposing new rules requiring motor scooter rental outfits to equip their scooters with GPS tracking instead. They would go one step further by requiring the creation of a 24/7 hotline where misbehaving scooter renters could be reported to local police and/or code compliance officers.

Part of the requirement would mandate that rental shop owners display this phone number along with other information about the rental shop’s name and ID number on the scooters to facilitate easier reporting. The idea is that when people call to complain about scooter drivers, the rental shop owners can instantly deactivate scooters.

This measure does require a little more work by the scooter rental companies who will then be responsible for retrieving these scooters, but it is far less costly than giving up their busiest rental month of the entire year.

Some shop owners are concerned about the added costs but feel it will ultimately be worth the price in business saved during this busy months for their organizations. However, some fear there is still too little interest in overturning the initial ban on March rentals among City Commissioners.

Many shop owners are cautiously hopeful that the new rules will go into place. The Mayor, Dan Gelber has voted against revoking the ban stating that he would like to keep the ban in place and mandate the hotline and GPS trackers for scooter rentals.

Some believe that scooters, while they can be disruptive, ultimately help to manage and control the crowds that would otherwise overwhelm certain South Beach areas, especially during busy times like spring break season. The argument against keeping the ban in place, however, is compelling as it penalizes small businesses that keep the local economy going even during slower seasons.

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