PCB City Council Puts Scooter Rental Bans Back on the Table

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - The battle over rental scooters is heating up again, and now Panama City Beach officials are moving forward to ban them.

"It was shocking because I'm like, we're talking about scooters but we just had a bunch of shootings," said California Cycles scooter rental owner, Colleen Swab.

She's outraged by the current direction of the scooter rental business in Panama City Beach.

On Thursday night, Panama City Beach Council members considered an emergency ordinance that would prohibit scooter rentals after 5 p.m.

The emergency ordinance issue arose after beach police Chief Drew Whitman provided statistics on scooter-related crashes and citations for March and April.

Authorities said they've made 142 scooter traffic stops in April so far.

"Judging by what the police chief says the reports were there to show they're a problem," said Mayor Mike Thomas.

However, the report does not make it clear if they're all rental scooters.

Emergency ordinances need four of the five council members to approve.

The votes was 3-to-2, falling one vote short.

"I just couldn't get the support from the majority of the council, so it fell to the side," said Thomas.

Despite Thursday night's failed vote, a future scooter ban is still in play.

"They did do four to one on the bans, so they're coming up with an ordinance. They're going to come back and we'll have to go through two city council meetings for them to pass it," said Swab.

Swab said the city's continually tightening of scooter rental regulations has taken a toll on her businesses.

"I don't know what they want from us. I did all their laws, I lost a lot of money," said Swab.

If council members pass a total ban on scooters rentals to begin in 3 years, Swab said she'll sue.

"Well they're going to file a ban, and I'm going to file another lawsuit," said Swab.

Mayor Thomas said both ordinances will be on the agenda during the city's next meeting on Thursday,  April 27th at 9 a.m.

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