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After fourth e-scooter death, Atlanta mayor imposes nighttime dockless vehicle ban

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Keisha Lance Bottoms promises safer streets are on the horizon

A picture of e-scooters lining a sidewalk in front of a crowd of people at a MARTA station.
City leaders are still struggling to get a handle on the e-scooter craze.
Sean Keenan, Curbed Atlanta

After yet another e-scooter-related fatality this summer, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has opted to ban all shareable dockless vehicle use late at night.

Beginning tomorrow, e-scooters and bikes will not be rentable between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., according to a city press release.

The move comes on the heels of a collision in East Point around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday that left Quienterry McGriff dead.

McGriff is reportedly the fourth e-scooter user to die in traffic in metro Atlanta in the past three months. According to police, McGriff ran a red light and was struck by a commercial gas truck.

Bottoms’s nighttime ban also follows an incident in Buckhead that left a 15-year-old scooter rider injured this week, as well as three other crashes involving vehicles that subsequently killed the riders.

On July 25, Bottoms issued a temporary moratorium on permitting new e-scooters and bikes intown—there are still some 12,000 devices licensed—and on Monday, she permanently stripped the city planning department of its power to permit more.

“It is evident that immediate action is necessary to keep Atlanta’s residents and visitors safe,” said Bottoms in the Thursday press release. “Sadly, we have seen a pattern in the recent and tragic fatalities involving scooters—they all occurred after sunset.”

With the exception of McGriff’s death, each local fatality has occurred in the window of time in which e-scooters will be shut down.

The ban, according to the release, is expected to precede what Bottoms previously called a “larger solution to keep our streets safe for all modes of transportation.”

Her executive order Thursday also includes “an accelerated plan for changes to our streets, creating safer, dedicated spaces for cyclists and scooter riders,” as well as a revised permitting process.

“The expected selection process is anticipated to be completed by February 2020,” according to the release.

Mobility advocates say the best way to make the city safer for alternative modes of transportation is to create a network of complete streets, which sacrifice car lanes in exchange for Lite Individual Transportation (LIT) lanes and wider sidewalks.

Around the country, cities such as Nashville have banned e-scooters entirely, while Washington DC has been considering a broad bill of regulations that would include an overnight ban. That provision, however, has encountered significant pushback, and a public public hearing on the matter has yet to happen.

In DC, one e-scooter rider fatality has been reported since the devices were introduced in the fall of 2017—more than six months before they arrived in Atlanta.