Scooters zoom about Miami Lakes

Community By Ana Demendoza, Reporter Wednesday, December 1, 2021

     On a recent weeknight,  four friends rode around the parking lots behind New Barn Road in Miami Lakes astride sleek black Wheels scooters while playing music from their respective cell phones.

     “We’ve been having a blast,” Helen Santos, 18, of Miami Lakes said. 

     The electric rides became available for rent in town on Oct. 30 through the Wheels app, available from the App Store or Google Play.

     The Town of Miami Lakes is offering the pilot program with the scooter company as part of its strategic plan, and to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home when traveling short distances. 

     Wheels is paying the town $85 per scooter. The company is allowed to deploy up to 150 scooters in town and after a month, there were 110 in use, Town Manager Edward Pidermann said.

     The town is not spending money directly on the program, he said. 

    There have been more than 2,000 rides in town, a Wheels spokeswoman said.

    To start a scooter, riders link a debit or credit card to the app. Costs are a $1 unlocking fee and 39 cents per minute while in use.  Helmets are available on some scooters and have a biodegradable, disposable liner. 

     The bikes used in town can reach a maximum speed of 15 mph and travel up to 30 miles on a full battery. They also have lights.  Built-in speakers enable riders to play music or even podcasts from their phones. 

     There are some ground rules:

-Helmets are recommended.

-If possible, avoid using the scooter on sidewalks.

-Riders must be 18 or older.

-Only one rider per scooter is allowed.

-The scooters are not permitted on Main Street or at the Farmer’s Market.

-Wheels advises riding in bike lanes or on bike trails while adhering to traffic rules. 

-Don’t park a scooter in areas that block sidewalks. 

-Don’t drink alcohol and ride.

-Always yield to pedestrians.

    Free helmets can be requested at pop-up events planned by Wheels or by contacting Mike Zayas, town transportation planning manager, at zayas-moralesm@miamilakes-fl.gov. 

     Persons with low incomes may qualify for the “Wheels For All” program, which grants a 50 percent discount if an application is approved.  

     To apply go to https://takewheels.com/wheels-for-all.

     Customer service may be reached at 1-888-240-7120 or via email at support@wheels.com. 

     Helen Santos and her friends rated their scooter experience a “thumbs up.” 

     “I recommend it,” Yelin Maceira, 19, said. “The town should keep them.”

     Editor Linda Trischitta contributed to this report.

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