Mayor Briley threatens to ban scooter companies if safety concerns aren’t addressed

As it appeared on WSMV News 4

Cameron Taylor

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – Scooter companies have a month to address a list of concerns from Mayor David Briley’s office or they can no longer operate in the Music City.

More than 4,000 are in operation. Briley notified all seven scooter companies in a letter on Thursday.

He wants them to address public safety and sidewalk accessibility issues.

“Nashville prides itself in being a friendly and welcoming city for the thousands of tourists visiting us each month, but we must also be a safe city. Based upon what I have witnessed firsthand, the recent influx of scooters in our city is causing us to be less safe and more visually cluttered,” Briley wrote in the letter.

Briley said the death of 26-year-old Brady Gaulke last week after a serious scooter accident last week “emphasized the dangers associated with urban scooter riding.”

“People are getting hurt. People are dying. Brady Gaulke was one of them and I don’t want to see that happen again,” Sean Martin, the attorney for the Gaulke family said.

Metro council member Steve Glover said the scooters aren’t working out.

They’re part of a pilot program ending in April of next year, but Glover told News4 it may be time to cut ties sooner.

“At this point, there’s no trust left on how it operates. We gave them that chance. They blew it,” Glover said.

The Nashville Fire Department responded to 43 scooter injuries in April, according to the Mayor’s office.

This month someone died. The Gaulke family attorney said that’s one too many.

“These vehicles are unsafe at any speed and no measure should be accepted that do anything less than ban them from Nashville,” Martin said.

Scooters were introduced to Nashville last year and the city banned them almost immediately because no regulations were in place.

Briley has asked the Department of Law to draft legislation repealing the existing scooter regulations and banning their operation.

“If I do not see a proposal from operators amending the current ordinances to address the above concerns within the next 30 days, I will ask the Metro County to approve this legislation,” Briley wrote in the letter.

The letter was sent to Bird, Lime, Jump, Lyft, Spin, Bolt, and Gotcha.

News4 requested statements from all seven scooter companies operating in Nashville. Here’s the statements for the companies that replied.

“At Lime, our number one priority is keeping visitors and residents safe in the 100+ markets we serve. We’ve done this worldwide since day one through our Respect the Ride campaign, which educates riders globally about safety and responsible riding. In addition, we’ve launched a first-of-its-kind micromobility Safety Ambassador Program and distributed over 250,000 helmets to-date. We look forward to working collaboratively with Mayor Briley to create a proposal that ensures this city remains safe and welcoming for residents, visitors and businesses alike.”

“Lyft is committed to providing communities with mobility options that help to reduce congestion and improve transportation access. Lyft scooters play a key role in achieving these goals. We look forward to partnering with Nashville leaders in the month ahead as we ensure that all transportation options, including scooters, are working well for local residents.”

“Bird has worked hard to make our service stand out as a responsible, equitable transportation solution in Nashville. We love this city and its residents who have embraced the e-scooter movement as one that improves their way of life. Bird has taken a number of proactive steps to lead the industry forward and serve our communities. In Nashville specifically, we have been responsive to city requests for No Ride Zones, we’ve conducted consistent safety education outreach, and we offer Community Mode, our in-app reporting feature that allows anyone in the city the ability to report instances of improper/sidewalk riding and poor parking. We also employ full-time Birdwatchers in Nashville whose sole job is to ensure Birds are respectfully parked in the community. Thousands of Nashville residents rely on Bird as a way to get around, and we don’t think banning e-scooters entirely is the answer. Our hope is to continue working with Mayor Briley and Metro Council on solutions to address concerns about the current e-scooter program so that our service can remain in Nashville.”

“Gotcha takes the safety and security of our riders very seriously and we are committed to making Nashville safe and welcoming for residents and visitors. We are working with the City of Nashville to make the necessary changes to keep the community safe.”

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