Bike share regulations on hold

Mobility program dropped in favor of ban
Local residents Thomas Pechous and Tracey Thrall, along with architect Jeff Conner, are working to bring bike share docking stations like these to various Island locations, if they receive approval from the three city commissions. - Submitted | Mobile Muttley's

HOLMES BEACH – Commissioners are moving forward with a moratorium blocking bike and scooter share companies from setting up shop in the city but are waiting to tackle any regulations until January.

During the Dec. 11 regular commission meeting, Commissioners Jim Kihm, Rick Hurst and Kim Rash voted unanimously to approve the second reading of a six-month moratorium banning bicycle and scooter share services, whether they have a dock or not, from opening in the city. The moratorium continues through June 30 or when commissioners decide on regulations, if any, for the businesses, whichever comes first. If no agreement on regulations is reached, commissioners have the option to vote to extend the moratorium.

With Commissioners Pat Morton and Carol Soustek absent from the meeting and following work session, Hurst suggested postponing discussions about regulations until a future work session when the two can be present, particularly Morton who is an avid cyclist.

Commissioner Rash said that while he’s willing to discuss regulations, currently he doesn’t feel that unmanned bicycle rental stations are truly needed in the city with the amount of existing bicycle rental businesses.

Mayor Judy Titsworth said she understands Rash’s perspective, but that the bicycle share services would offer short-term rentals rather than the daily or weekly rentals offered by companies in Holmes Beach.

The moratorium does not impact existing bicycle or scooter rental services already established in the city.

When commissioners do discuss regulations, City Attorney Patricia Petruff said they should consider whether they want the services in the city at all, if the bicycles need to be docked or not, how many bicycles a company is allowed to place in Holmes Beach at one time, what the effects on parking may be and whether the bicycles can be placed for rent on private or public property.

Commissioners next meet Jan. 8 with a work session to follow the regular meeting.

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