You asked, we answered: 34 things you probably don’t know about Atlanta

Is Atlanta even enforcing electric scooter laws?

Illustration of a policeman chasing a man on a scooter
Illustration by Uglylogo/

In January, Atlanta city council members, in a quixotic attempt to impose order on the scourge new technology of e-scooters, laid down the law. First, companies wanting to dump their scooters on city sidewalks now have to pay a $12,000 annual fee, which permits them to distribute up to 500 scooters. Anything over that is $50 per. Scooters also must top out at 15 mph. And, in news to any pedestrian sidestepping them on a daily basis, parking them on sidewalks now incurs a fine of up to $1,000. Oh, and the ordinance technically bans them from being ridden on the sidewalks.

We say “technically” because, after a three-month grace period, Atlanta police have since written precisely 33 tickets. Nearly all of them have gone to speed demons riding on the sidewalk, and the majority have come in Zone 5, which includes Midtown and downtown. (Average citation fee: $137.44.) Mostly, though, cops are issuing warnings—more than 230 in Zone 5 alone. Meanwhile, city workers have impounded 5,900 scooters (though virtually all were released back to their owners) and levied $225,000 in fines. Levied, but not collected. It appears that the city releases the scooters without ensuring the fines are paid first. Remember that the next time your car is impounded.

This article appears in our November 2019 issue.