Businesses must wait before flooding Macon streets with scooters

There won’t be an influx of electric-powered scooters, bicycles and other alternative modes of transportation arriving in Macon to be rented out for awhile.

That’s because the Macon-Bibb County Commission voted Tuesday to ban companies from renting out dockless vehicles that have become popular in many cities and colleges campuses across the nation. The moratorium gives commissioners time to study the risks and benefits and develop regulations on those types of vehicles.

Macon-Bibb’s ban impacts businesses from operating the rent-sharing system. It does not affect the dockless vehicles people own.

The ordinance says the ban will allow the county to do a controlled introduction of the vehicles.

“This allows the commissioners to work with administration to come up with ways to regulate (the industry) in an appropriate manner or to prohibit them outright,” County Attorney Judd Drake said.

Commissioner Virgil Watkins has said the county may use Atlanta’s dockless vehicle laws as a template. Last week, Atlanta officials set permit fees, a 15-mph speed limit for riders and other regulations.

In cities like Athens, a company left large numbers of electric scooters on sidewalks without notifying local officials.

Athens-Clarke commissioners promptly instituted a 12-month ban to come up with its own dockless vehicle laws.

Animal welfare audit coming

Commissioners also approved Tuesday an audit being performed on the county’s Animal Welfare Department and animal control.

The internal audit was requested because some commissioners say they want to see how the two entities are faring since they were split. There’s also been ongoing discussions about whether policy changes could limit some of the overcrowding at the shelter.

Animal control is now under the auspice of the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office while animal welfare, which handles the shelter operations, remains its own department.