Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Transportation

What happens if you destroy a scooter in Tampa?

Plus the most bizarre incidents of electric scooter vandalism around the city.
Ryan Cummings, 23, of Tampa, left, and Alex Frey, 25, also of Tampa, rent Spin electric scooters from a corral located along Zack Street Tuesday, May 28, 2019 in Tampa. Electric scooter companies Spin, Bird, Lime and Jump were being deployed within the next few weeks according to a tweet from the City of Tampa on Sunday. Campbell and Henigan spent a couple of hours Tuesday trying the electric scooters. Frey and his friend Ryan Cummings rented two scooters during their lunch break. "We are going to Armature Works, we couldn’t do that without these." said Frey. [CHRIS URSO | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 15
Updated Oct. 15

Electric scooter destruction is not new.

Ever since the transportation trend caught on, people have found all sorts of methods to deface and destroy these devices. There are even entire Instagram accounts dedicated to showcasing the most creative attacks.

View this post on Instagram

@birdturdsla

A post shared by Bird Graveyard (@birdgraveyard) on

Florida is not immune to this movement.

More than 140 electric scooters have been vandalized by one Fort Lauderdale man since April, according to a statement released by Fort Lauderdale police. On Sept. 29, Fort Lauderdale police arrested Randall Thomas Williams, 59, after a surveillance camera captured him cutting the brake lines of e-scooters around his neighborhood, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

After this story made national news, we wondered: How is Tampa treating its scooters?

How is Tampa trying to limit scooter shenanigans?

Tampa rolled out its pilot scooter program in May and is approaching half a million rides, said Calvin Thornton, an engineer at Tampa’s Transportation and Stormwater Services Department.

Four scooter companies — Lime, Bird, Jump and Spin — each paid the city a $20,000 fee, plus $1 per day per scooter.

“In learning about some the other challenges cities have had, we’ve modeled our program a little bit differently," Thornton said.

Tampa allows each company to leave up to 600 scooters on the streets at a time, meaning the most scooters the city will have out at any time is 2,400. All four brands restrict where riders can use their devices. Some examples include the University of Tampa campus and the sidewalks along 7th Avenue in Ybor and Bayshore Boulevard.

What happens if you vandalize a scooter?

Tampering with a scooter — including using graffiti, breaking off parts or executing other destructive acts — can count as criminal mischief.

Under this charge, property damage under $200 is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by at least 60 days in jail. Property damage between $200 and $1,000 is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable with up to one year in jail. And property damage exceeding $1,000 is a third-degree felony that can result in up to five years in prison.

Scooter costs vary by brand, but the average retail price per device ranges between about $100 and $500, according to a report by Vox. A vandalism attempt on multiple scooters can easily add up to get into the felony range.

Tampa’s most bizarre scooter sabotages

Despite Tampa planning a scooter program that reduces mischief — and the threat of jail time — scooter destruction has still been documented around the city. Here are three examples from Tampa Transportation Director Jean Duncan.

1. Spray painting the QR codes

Spin scooters are ready for deployment at a local Spin scooter distribution warehouse located in east Tampa on Wednesday, June 19, 2019. [JONES | Tampa Bay Times]

Riders scan a QR code with a phone app that is used to activate a scooter and signal the end of their journey. Duncan received reports that someone painted over QR codes on about 50 Lime and Spin scooters.

2. Seeing if Birds can really fly

Unidentified scooter riders crosses South Hyde Park Avenue while riding along Platt Street in Tampa, Florida on Monday, June 10, 2019. [JONES, OCTAVIO | Tampa Bay Times]

Duncan’s office received word that someone was flinging scooters off the top of the William F. Poe parking garage on 800 N Ashley Drive. Of all four brands, only Birds were subjected to this treatment.

3. Drowning

A Bird electric scooter is seen along the Tampa Riverwalk Tuesday, May 28, 2019 in Tampa. Riders are forbidden from riding along the Tampa Riverwalk. [CHRIS URSO | Tampa Bay Times]

Scooter riding is prohibited along Tampa’s Riverwalk. Still, at least one e-scooter met its watery demise after being tossed into the Hillsborough River, according to a report Duncan received.

Have you seen a Tampa scooter in a strange place or situation? Let us know in the comments.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Travelers make their way to baggage claim at Orlando International Airport in August. Officials expect 1.75 million passengers to pass through the airport during the Thanksgiving holiday season.
    Officials at Orlando International Airport on Monday said they expect traffic to increase 6% from 2018.
  2. More than 800 rear-seat passengers who weren’t wearing seat belts were killed last year in U.S. traffic crashes.
  3. MSC Cruises brought the MSC Meraviglia to Port Miami to begin its first-ever season of sailing from Florida. The 171,598-gross-ton, 4,500-passenger vessel is tied with a sister ship as the 7th largest ship in the world. MSC CRUISES
    Meraviglia, which means “wonder” in Italian, debuted in 2017, and has among unique offerings a 450-person venue for original Cirque du Soleil shows.
  4. Much work has been completed on the Selmon Extension project, but we still have a way to go before the construction and ongoing detours on Gandy Boulevard end by the projected fall 2020 completion date. MONIQUE WELCH  |  Monique Welch | Times
    The ongoing project along Gandy Boulevard began in February but still has a lot of work left before its projected fall 2020 completion date.
  5. Dade City wants to put its planned bicycle hub in a city park near Church and Eighth streets adjoining the trailhead of the Roy Hardy Trail. The land already has been designated as the future home of a splash pad. Dade City
    A planned welcome center for cycling enthusiasts originally had been slated for a historic train depot
  6. Tampa International Airport looking north. The Wall Street Journal ranked it the best midsize airport in America. [Times files]
    TPA took first place in the Wall Street Journal’s annual survey of U.S. airports.
  7. Nov. 14• Associated Press
    A Brightline train heading from West Palm Beach to Miami pulls in Thursday afternoon at the station in Fort Lauderdale. [Emily Michot/Miami Herald]
    Brightline trains have killed more than a dozen people since 2017.
  8. Florida had 381,300 jobs in the manufacturing sector in September. [Times 2016]
    No matter how many times you hear that the country doesn’t make anything anymore, don’t believe it.
  9. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is lit up in patriotic red white and blue colors in honor of Veteran's Day 2019. This view is shot from Skyway Beach looking south. Shot with a 400mm f4.0 lens with an ISO of 100 at F11 with a 10 second exposure. BOYZELL HOSEY  |  Tampa Bay Times
    FDOT engineers switched on a patriotic theme in a colorful tribute to veterans.
  10. The Falcon 9 rocket sits on Kennedy Space Center's historic Pad 39A in Cape Canaveral on Thursday.[SpaceX via AP]
    The company deployed a second batch of 60 satellites for its Starlink communications constellation.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement