SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — The City of New Braunfels has banned scooter and bicycle based shared mobility services inside the city.
The legislation was approved in its second and final reading Monday evening.
The discussion began earlier this year after a pile of these motorized scooters showed up.
“Late January, someone — I’m not sure who it was — came and just dropped off a whole bunch of these scooters downtown on our sidewalks,” New Braunfels mayor pro tem Wayne Peters told KTSA News.
The police department immediately issued a temporary ban on the vehicles until the city council had a chance to act on the topic.
“We discussed a lot of issues: safety issues related to pedestrians, riders, vehicles and cluttering of our sidewalks downtown,” stated Peters.
The councilman did note that he was a bit surprised in the lack of public interest in wanting to discuss whether or not they should be permitted.
For Peters, he has not seen much positive about their use in other cities so far, notably from what he’s seen in his trips into San Antonio.
“When I drive around San Antonio, I see them just laying randomly on the sidewalks and, to me, it’s just an issue of safety and clutter relative to actually moving around,” Peters described. “In our particular city, our downtown sidewalks are not as wide as some of the sidewalks in San Antonio.”
For New Braunfels, it is not something he felt was worth running the risk of facing potential lawsuits in the future for any injuries that may be caused by motorized scooters and bikes from popular shared mobility services like Bird and Lyft Scooter.
The ordinance explicitly states that shared mobility services that provide the use of motor-assisted scooters, electric bicycles and bicycles with GPS systems on any public sidewalk or public rights-of-way within the city limits. Not only are the services banned, but using a either a scooter or bicycle that was permitted in another city inside New Braunfels is also banned.
Anyone caught using such a vehicle in the city will face a class C misdemeanor and could face a fine of up to $500.
The city council says future developments that want to utilize these services will have the opportunity to come before the council to change the ordinance to suit their needs.
Updated to include comments from New Braunfels city councilman Wayne Peters.