MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami Beach commissioners have voted to allow scooter rentals during Memorial Day Weekend but made a decision to ban them during the month of March beginning next year.
Wednesday’s decision was widely viewed as a compromise in the contentious issue that has sparked heated debate on both sides.
The initial proposal had called for the ban to be enforced during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, but commissioners opted against it.
“Those are the most congested time frames for the city, so that’s how we selected this time frame,” said Miami Beach Commissioner John Elizabeth Alemán.
However, Juan Carlos Planas, the attorney representing several scooter companies, said he hopes to work with the city to amend that ruling.
Supporters of the ban, including Alemán, argue the scooters are a clear public safety issue, especially in big crowds.
“At the point that your product becomes a public safety issue, you have to make concessions,” she said. “You have to realize that you’re part of a broader community, and public safety should be the priority for everyone.”
But others indicate the ban is going to be a major blow to the city’s scooter rental shops.
Scooter rental business owners upset at the proposal made their voices heard at the commission meeting. Some audience members shouted from their seats after the time for public comments had ended.
Officials said the commission’s decision will help keep residents and visitors safer while reducing noise levels, all priorities for authorities during high-impact dates in the city.
“Given the democratic process and debate, I think the commission made the right decision,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates.
Meanwhile, Planas said he’s happy that the ban will not include Memorial Day, but he hopes to work with the city to amend the current ordinance.
“I think there are a number of ways to make this industry more safe than to simply shut down a business for a month,” he said. “That’s the taking of a business, and if the city goes through with that, we’ll have to sue because it would shut our businesses down.”
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