The Santa Fe City Council’s Public Safety Committee on Tuesday recommended approval of a temporary ban on the use of rented electric scooters on public streets and sidewalks — a way to fend off an onslaught of rental operations until the city has a chance to study the issue and possibly create regulations governing the increasingly popular devices.
The ordinance, proposed by District 2 City Councilor Carol Romero-Wirth, would prohibit private electric scooter companies from opening shop in Santa Fe until the city can weigh whether to start a pilot program.
An accompanying resolution directs the city manager to evaluate whether electric scooter sharing services — companies such as Bird, Lime and Cloud — would be suitable in Santa Fe and to get feedback from the public.
Electric scooters have become a popular mode of transportation in some cities, but others have experienced a wide range of problems, from sidewalks clogged with abandoned scooters to riders violating traffic laws.
“I think we do need to regulate them a little bit before we even think about bringing them into the city,” said committee Chairman and District 3 Councilor Chris Rivera.
Privately owned electric scooters would still be allowed to operate in the city.
The Public Safety Committee’s unanimous vote Tuesday follows a vote last week by the Public Works Committee in favor of the temporary ban.
It was not immediately known when the issue would come before the full City Council.
A city staff member told the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday that several private electric scooter rental companies had expressed interest within the past year in bringing their business to Santa Fe but, for the time being, had been persuaded to hold off until the city has regulations in place.
The proposed ordinance would be a safeguard to ensure that, the staffer said.
Any new rules might include where in the city the scooters could be used and any fees the rental companies might have to pay, the staffer added.