JSO: Issues with e-scooters in downtown Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There was a lot of excitement and buzz around the new, trendy electric scooters coming to downtown Jacksonville, but now that they are here, issues are stirring up too.

Less than a month in with the new scooters in town and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has arrested one rider. Another rider also filed a report about a hit-and-run.

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According to a JSO informational report, a woman claimed she was hit by a car while on an e-scooter on Saturday, March 6.

The vehicle was leaving the parking garage at 11 East Forsyth Street, and that’s where the rider claimed she was struck.

The woman who said she was hit did not report the incident until the next day, so JSO documented the incident under “informational” and not a crash report since both parties left the scene.

In a separate JSO report, an 18-year-old was arrested after carelessly driving a scooter and running a red light in front of a JSO officer.

According to the arrest report, a patrol car was waiting at a red light at the intersection of Forsythe Street and North Laura Street when a rider drove up on an e-scooter, drove into the middle of the intersection, got off the scooter, picked up the front wheel and looked at the officer.

The officer verbally warned the suspect not to run the light. However, the suspect continued to drive into the middle of the intersection and eventually ran the red light and continued to North Laura Street, the report indicated.

The officer then followed the suspect, who was swerving back and forth between the left and right lane (crossing the double yellow line).

The officer initiated his lights and sirens, and the suspect kept riding his scooter, disregarding the patrol car and ignoring the officer’s attempt to pull him over, according to the report.

The rider eventually came to a stop due to a curb in the sidewalk, where he was later arrested.

The arrest report included three offenses, resisting an officer with violence, failure to obey traffic control device (sign), and bicycle operator failure to ride as close as practical to the right side of a two-way street.

JSO stated in the arrest report:

“It should be noted that failure to operate motorized scooters safely and in accordance with Florida Statues has recently become a rampant and very dangerous problem in the urban core since several businesses have started making electric motorized scooters available to the public for rent.”

These two incidents were the only scooter-related reports JSO had from March 1 till March 19.

Action News Jax had a viewer claim his car was hit downtown by a scooter earlier this month.

The city of Jacksonville launched the one-year pilot program to put e-scooters on the streets of downtown Jacksonville. The city can make the program permanent if it’s “in the best interests of the city,” according to the bill.

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The Downtown Investment Authority has the rules of operation listed online, which include:

  • Must be 16+ years old to rent and ride.
  • Top motor-powered speed of 10 mph when operating on a sidewalk.
  • Top motor-powered speed of 15 mph when operating in the right of way.
  • Riders are encouraged to wear a helmet when operating an e-scooter.

For more details on the Dockless Mobility Program, visit the DIA page here.

When Action News Jax reached out to the city of Jacksonville, Chief of Staff Jordan Elsbury replied:

“The e-scooters are part of a one-year pilot program to enhance mobility and activity in Downtown Jacksonville. Over the next year, City staff will monitor and evaluate the safety and success of the program in collaboration with our partners at the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and Downtown Investment Authority. We encourage riders and drivers to keep safety in mind and follow existing rules and traffic laws.”

Bailey Husker, Action News Jax

Bailey Husker is a digital content producer and assignment editor for Action News Jax.