Personal Mobility Sharing: E-Scooters

Guest Correspondence

Although driverless cars are likely a decade or more away, a new development in the field of transportation is emerging about as fast as your morning coffee cools. 

It is called personal mobility sharing and is geared for the first or last mile of a trip.  The latest innovation in personal mobility sharing is the electric scooter.   

The e-scooter movement joins the renewed interest in bicycles as a way for people to move about over relatively short distances, a bit faster than walking.

 Sarasota has been approached by a Santa Monica California, electric scooter company, called Bird, who desire to deploy electric scooters in Sarasota.  

The company’s business plan is to locate the scooters in densely populated areas.

Once deployed, those who sign up to pay to use them can simply hop on a nearby scooter to run an errand, grab a meal, or whatever. Bird must have heard we have 25,000 jobs in downtown Sarasota, with many good restaurants and stores to check out.   

The e-scooters have been rolled out by companies in several cities around the country including in nearby Coral Gables. 

Hopefully the pilot programs are helping to work the bugs out as people learn how to use the scooters and motorists become aware they are being used.   

Although Florida law currently prohibits electric scooters from being ridden on sidewalks or roadways, they can be permitted by a city in the public right of ways under certain conditions. 

Our city staff is in the process of meeting with the electric scooter company to explore if and how they might work in areas of Sarasota, perhaps downtown, or on our college campuses if the colleges are interested. 

I can’t wait to try one.  In my case, I hope they come with bubble wrap and a helmet?

Is Sarasota ready for E-scooters?   If you have an opinion please feel free to email me, at

Tom Barwin is Sarasota City Manager.

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