Miami orders scooters removed from streets before hurricane Dorian turns them into flying projectiles

Officials told the six companies that operate fleets in the city — Bird, Bolt, Uber’s Jump, Lime, Lyft and Spin — to clear out their scooters by noon on Friday.
A person scooters near the Torch of Friendship at the northwest corner of Bayfront Park in Miami, Fla. on July 21, 2019.Daniel A. Varela / Miami Herald via AP
  • Share this -
/ Source: CNBC.com
By Annie Palmer, CNBC

The city of Miami has notified a number of companies that they must remove their fleets of electric scooters from the streets in preparation for Hurricane Dorian, lest the devices become flying projectiles.

Officials told the six companies that operate fleets in the city — Bird, Bolt, Uber’s Jump, Lime, Lyft and Spin — to clear out their scooters by noon on Friday. The order is meant to prevent any potential hazards that could arise from the scooters being left out during the storm, including fears that the vehicles could be swept up in the storm’s dangerous winds.

A number of scooter companies said they’ve also removed or reduced their fleets in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando, which are also expected to be in the path of the storm.

Hurricane Dorian, currently a strong Category 2 storm, is forecast to become a Category 4 storm with potentially “devastating hurricane-force winds,” the National Hurricane Center said on Friday. The storm is expected to make landfall on Florida’s east coast this weekend, before rolling inland towards Orlando early next week.

Should Hurricane Dorian grow into a Category 4 storm, it could produce winds of more than 130 miles per hour. No one has been evacuated yet, but officials in Miami have taken a number of steps to ensure residents’ safety, including the removal of dockless scooters.

A Lime spokesperson said the company is pulling its scooters in Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, as well as reducing its fleet size in Tampa, which amounts to almost 1,500 scooters and 500 bicycles.

“We’re in touch with each city and will comply with any request to prioritize safety,” the spokesperson said. “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.”

Lyft spokeswoman Kaitlyn Carl said the company has paused all scooter operations in Miami and expects to meet the city’s noon deadline. Lyft’s operations team is picking up each of the 244 scooters in the city and storing them in a warehouse until the storm passes.

“We will resume operations only once conditions improve and will continue to follow the guidance provided by the City of Miami,” Carl added.

This browser does not support the video element.

Uber spokesman Javi Correoso said the company has suspended Jump scooter rentals in Miami and Tampa.

“Our operations team is currently removing all of the scooters in both markets so that they do not become a hazard before any storm impacts are felt,” Correoso said. “This process will be completed by noon today.”

A Bird spokesperson confirmed the company is collecting and storing its scooters in Miami. A spokesperson from Spin said all scooters will be “retrieved well before the storm is expected to arrive” and that it will keep riders notified with any updates.

In a statement, a Bolt spokesperson said, “In anticipation of the storm and at the direction of the Miami officials we began taking our scooters off of the streets yesterday and will have the remainder of them removed ahead of today’s noon deadline.”

Representatives from the city of Miami were not immediately available for comment.

Annie Palmer, CNBC

Annie Palmer is an associate tech reporter for CNBC.