As Hurricane Dorian nears Florida ahead of its expected landfall early next week, Miami is taking measures to ensure that the e-scooters on its city streets don’t become an inadvertent safety hazard — namely, that they don’t wind up turning into dangerous flying objects.
Miami City Commission Chairman Ken Russell tweeted Thursday local time that “all” e-scooters would be removed from the city’s streets by Friday ahead of the storm, captioning the tweet “#scooternado”.
In April, the city launched an e-scooter pilot program in partnership with six companies — Bird, Bolt, Jump, Lime, Lyft and Spin — to deploy scooters in the region.
“The safety of our community is fundamental to Lyft,” a spokesperson for the company told Gizmodo in a statement by email.
“We have temporarily paused all scooter operations in Miami and securely stored the scooters ahead of Hurricane Dorian, per City requirements. We will resume operations only once conditions improve and will continue to follow the guidance provided by the City of Miami.”
The Lyft spokesperson said its operations team had picked up 244 e-scooters that will be stored in a warehouse until the storm passes. Lime, meanwhile, said in a statement that it is pulling its fleets in Miami as well as in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale ahead of the storm, as well as reducing its fleet in Tampa. All told, the company is pulling 500 bikes and 1500 scooters from operation.
Bird, Jump and Spin also confirmed to Gizmodo that they were pulling the devices from service in Miami, with Jump stating that it has also pulled its fleet from Tampa.
“We have been in close contact with local officials and have disabled service for JUMP scooters,” a spokesperson for the Uber-owned company told Gizmodo by email. “We are monitoring Hurricane Dorian closely and have removed all JUMP scooters from the roads in Miami and Tampa.”
Bolt and the city of Miami did not immediately return requests for comment.
The National Hurricane Centre said Friday local time that Dorian has increased the risk of “devastating hurricane-force winds” along parts of Florida’s east coast, adding that the storm will remain an extremely dangerous major hurricane while it moves near the northwestern Bahamas and approaches the Florida peninsula into early next week.
It’s forecasted that Dorian could build to a Category 4 hurricane before it makes landfall in the US Monday or Tuesday.