The state Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow electric scooters to get off the sidewalk and into bike lanes.
The bill would treat “micromobility devices,” a catchall that includes scooters and other small devices that top out at 20 mph, in the same manner as pedal-powered bikes.
The House bill at one time blocked local governments from passing their own ordinances restricting how and where scooters could be used, but the pre-emption language was relaxed with an amendment adopted on the House floor last week.
The final bill would not stop a municipal or county government “from adopting an ordinance governing the operation of micromobility devices and motorized scooters on streets, highways, sidewalks, and sidewalk areas under the local government’s jurisdiction.”
Toledo was initially resistant to the change, though home rule advocates including the Florida League of Cities were adamant it was an overreach. St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes, sponsor of the Senate companion, excised similar language from his bill earlier in the Legislative Session.
Shortly after the bill passed, scooter rental companies celebrated it as a victory.
“We applaud the final passage of House Bill 453, and we thank State Senator Jeff Brandes and State Representative Jackie Toledo for their hard work on this legislation,” said Vivian Myrtetus, government affairs manager for Lime.
“This legislation provides clarity to cities regarding how e-scooters can operate legally in their communities, and we look forward to working with cities throughout the State of Florida to offer an innovative, reliable and affordable transportation option.
“We ask Governor [Ron] DeSantis to consider the many benefits this new transportation option holds for the state and Floridians and sign this good bill into law.”
Ride-sharing platform Uber, which has expanded into micromobility with JUMP, also lauded lawmakers in a Wednesday news release.
“As we build our mobility platform, Uber is connecting our riders to transport options that directly reduce congestion, like bikes, scooters, and public transportation. Uber applauds the passage of HB 453, which will bring environmentally friendly transportation options to cities across Florida,” said João Barbará, general manager of JUMP Scooters Florida.
JUMP currently operates in Miami and is in the process of rolling out its service in other Florida cities. JUMP, alongside Lime, Bird and Spin, was recently selected as the vendors for a City of Tampa Shared Motorized Scooter Pilot Program.
Proponents of the bill say scooters are fast becoming a solution to first-mile/last-mile problems. In addition to rental company interests, business associations and free-market advocacy group Americans for Prosperity-Florida pushed for micro-mobility framework to be added to state law.
If signed by DeSantis, the bill would go into effect immediately.