SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Local officials aim to tackle the use of motor-assisted/dockless scooters before the rental companies decide to storm the streets with them.
The City of South Padre Island unanimously approved an ordinance this week that will temporarily prohibit the rental and/or leasing of motor-assisted scooters on the Island for 180 days.
According to city officials, the temporary regulation will get the city through spring break and summer vacation season.
Additionally, the specified period was designed to allow more time to monitor Senate Bill 549’s pending legislation, which could require riders of these scooters to be at least 16 years of age and have a driver’s license.
According to council members, the purpose of the ordinance is to get ahead of scooters being launched on the Island and to learn from cities, such as San Antonio, which just finished its six-month pilot program.
“This will afford us the opportunity to weigh the effects of motor-assisted scooters here on the Island,” City Council member Joe Ricco said during this week’s council meeting.
The City Council was prompted to act after a scooter rental company based in San Antonio, named Blue Duck, expressed interest in bringing its rental scooters to the Island and met with city officials late last month.
Council members believe the temporary ban will give the Island an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of other cities and make sure they do not place undue burden on residents or taxpayers.
“Alternative transportation is coming if we like it or not,” Ricco said. “This would be a good tool to let us get ahead of the curve on this and make sure we do it right when it comes.”
What are motor-assisted/dockless scooters?
They are stand-up scooters with a narrow platform to stand on, upright handlebars, a toggle to speed up and a brake on the handlebar to reduce speed.