Jacksonville will soon join many major American cities in welcoming bikes and electric scooters into its urban core.
Yesterday, city council voted 18-0 to approve Ordinance 2020-26, which was introduced by council member LeAnna Cumber back in January and provides for a one-year dockless bicycle, electric bicycle, and electric scooter pilot program within downtown Jacksonville.
The program allows for a maximum of four different operators (e.g.: Bird, Lime, or Jump) who would each require city permits to operate. Those operators will be allowed an initial maximum of 250 bike or scooter units, with the option to apply for 250 additional units after 120 days; permits will also be required for each individual unit.
The program includes traditional bicycles, e-bikes that provide assisted pedaling, and electric scooters, all of which must be in compliance with federal regulations. City-designated parking and docking stations would be established in existing city right-of-ways.
Riders will be able to rent units via smartphone apps, but the ordinance also specifies that there must be a rental method provided for those without smartphone access.
All units would be limited via geofencing to an area referred to as the Dockless Mobility Zone, which extends from the stadium to the courthouse along with an additional, much narrower path beyond the courthouse that allows access to the Jacksonville Regional Transportation Center. Operators would be responsible for retrieving units that end up elsewhere, as well as removing defective units and routinely redistributing units to the designated docking stations.
Electric bike and scooter units will be limited to a top speed of 15 miles per hour. Operators are responsible for informing riders of all instructions, rules, and regulations, including the need to slow to 10 miles per hour or less when riding on sidewalks.
Operators will also be liable for any damages or injuries that result from the use of their units; they’ll be required to provide proof of at least $2 million in bodily injury insurance coverage.
During the pilot program, the city will routinely receive usage and trip data from each operator. City council has the option to extend the program beyond one year, at which point operators would have to apply for new permits.
Following approval from city council, the ordinance now awaits a signature from Mayor Lenny Curry, after which it will go into effect.