The sight of rentable electric scooters and bikes flying down the street is becoming increasingly common in cities across the U.S., but there’s usually someone on them at the time.
With Hurricane Dorian gathering strength and heading straight for major cities in Florida, these relatively robust contraptions can become destructive and potentially lethal projectiles as they’re whipped up by the strong winds and flung in random directions.
Intent on limiting damage caused by flying objects, officials in Miami have ordered all of the app-based rental services — Bird, Jump, and Lime among them — to clear their dockless scooters and bikes from the city’s streets until Dorian has passed, Bloomberg reported.
Watching the weather
A Bird spokesperson told Digital Trends that in anticipation of Hurricane Dorian’s arrival some time on Monday, September 2, it’s working closely with local authorities and has a team closely dedicated to monitoring weather conditions, adding, “Out of an abundance of caution, we are collecting and safely storing our scooters in Miami.”
Jump, too, said it’s currently removing all of its scooters from the streets of Miami, with the operation likely to be completed by Friday morning.
“We continue to monitor the storm and if it impacts the other Florida market in which Jump scooters are available, Tampa, we will do the same in a timely manner,” the company told Digital Trends.
Lime confirmed that ahead of Dorian’s arrival, it’s removing its scooters and bikes not only from Miami, but also Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, while temporarily reducing its fleet size in Tampa.
“This amounts to nearly 1,500 scooters and 500 bicycles total,” Lime told Digital Trends. “We’re in touch with each city and will comply with any request to prioritize safety. We’re also communicating with our riders to let them know of these steps and to encourage them to follow the guidance of their local authorities and remain safe.”
The action taken by the companies is expected to become routine with every hurricane that barrels toward cities where they operate, though some already have experience in dealing with extreme weather events of this nature.
In 2018, for example, Hurricane Florence prompted Bird, Lime, and Skip to temporarily remove their electric scooters from the streets of Washington, D.C.
It’s not a particularly difficult procedure to carry out, as the companies can deploy those who regularly gather up the vehicles to charge their batteries at the end of each day. But the effort will certainly make the streets of affected cities a whole lot safer.