FWB to make e-scooters permanent as pilot program shows success

In the past 90 days, 2,000 rides have taken place on Bird scooters.

On Tuesday, the Fort Walton Beach City Council unanimously agreed to permanently allow motorized e-scooters, and other micro-mobility devices, to operate within the City of Fort Walton Beach.

  • This was the first reading to amend the city ordinance.

In June of this year, the first participant in the pilot program for motorized scooters setup shop around town. The program allowed businesses to deploy scooters and other devices around the City, following certain regulations and standards.

  • Bird Scooters is currently the only scooter company operating in the city.
  • According to the Chris Frassetti, Growth Management Director, Bird Scooters has been happy with the program so far, and the city hasn’t had any issues on their end.

Since the beginning of July, Bird has seen approximately 2,000 total rides in the city. On their highest days, they have had over 100 rides. Frassetti told the council that Bird would be happy with even one daily average ride per scooter.

“They do have dashboards where we can see all of their data online,” said Frassetti. “It shows you average daily rides per scooter, per day.”

Also within that time, the Growth Management Department has only received one complaint about the scooters. According to Frassetti, the complaint was about a scooter that was parked in front of a residential property.

  • “We contacted Bird and within a matter of one or two hours, it was removed,” noted Frasetti. “The ordinance does state that they [scooters] can’t sit there for prolonged periods. They were apologetic and removed it very quickly.”

“This is alternative transportation,” said Council-member David Schmidt. “We talk a lot about the lack of parking downtown and in other places. This is a great strategy to offer that opportunity to the people.”

“I was probably the fiercest opponent of this pilot program when it first launched,” said Council-member Nic Allegretto. “But at the same time, the majority of people that I’ve seen riding these are not riding them for pleasure. I see a lot of people going to work on these things. If that’s an opportunity to offer one of our residents the ability to get back and fourth to a job, that’s a big deal.”

Additional details on e-scooters within the city

Micromobility devices may be operated on any part of a street or highway where bicycles are authorized to travel, including a bicycle lane or other portion of a roadway designated for exclusive use by bicyclists, the shoulder or berm, and any path or trail intended for use by bicyclists.

These devices are prohibited from operating at all times along the following roadways:

  • US 98 (Miracle Strip Parkway)
  • SR 85 (Eglin Parkway)
  • SR 145 (Perry Avenue)
  • SR 189 (Beal Parkway)
  • SR 393 (Mary Esther Cutoff)

A few things to know:

  • May only operate between the hours of 7:00 a.m.— 10:00 p.m. daily.
  • Any micromobility device parked on private property without the permission of the owner or occupier of the property shall be subject to immediate removal.
  • Micromobility devices shall not be parked in such a manner as to impede the right-of-way or impede access to the right-of-way.

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