New City Council Ordinance could reintroduce micro-mobility to Birmingham

Micro-mobility
Birmingham City Councilors on Jan 7, 2020. Photo via Birmingham City Council

Although Zyp bikes officially left Birmingham streets on December 31, the Birmingham City Council is considering an ordinance that could open the door to a ton of new micro-mobility options.

The Future of Micro-Mobility in Birmingham

Micro-mobility
Bham Now’s favorite Brit used to explore Birmingham on a Zyp bike. Photo via Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

In 2019, Alabama Senate Bill 312 opened the door for municipalities to allow micro-mobility services, such as scooters and bikes. Before this, Alabama cities had a lot of trouble when it came to regulating micro-mobility vendors.

On January 7, the Birmingham City Council considered an ordinance that could affect the future of micro-mobility in Birmingham. Although this ordinance would allow vendors to operate their system in the city, there will be strict guidelines that each company will have to follow in order to operate in Birmingham.

Here Are the Details

Micro-mobility
Lime-S scooters could be part of Birmingham’s micro-mobility future. Photo via Birmingham City Council

When done properly, micro-mobility can tremendously improve access to a city. However, micro-mobility can go very poorly when done wrong (I’m looking at you, Nashville). Luckily, the Birmingham City Council is taking the time to make sure that Birmingham doesn’t run into these issues.

For instance, vendors in Birmingham would have designated “corrals” for their equipment, taking the place of a handful of street parking spaces. That would prevent these bikes and scooters from ending up on in people’s way on sidewalks, in parks, or other random places. In addition, the ordinance will hold users accountable. So no more riding without helmets on the sidewalk!

“Although this new mode of mobility won’t be without some growing pains, the benefits are significant to people who don’t have easy access to a private automobile or public transportation.”

City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn

So, What’s Next?

The next step for this ordinance is the next Transportation Committee session, this Wednesday at 2PM. If the ordinance is recommended, it will go to the full council meeting on January 28.

If passed, the ordinance would go into effect within the next 10 days. During this period, the Department of Transportation will work on a system permit application. In order to operate in Birmingham, micro-mobility vendors would need to fill out the application and pass certain qualifications.

Have a Suggestion?

Birmingham, Alabama, Darell O'Quinn, Cory Pettway
District 5 Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn alongside Cory Pettway, a Birmingham neighborhood advocate on Zyp bikes.  Photo via Kristina O’Quinn for Bham Now

Good! The Birmingham City Council wants to hear your voice.

First, check out the ordinance. Councilor Darrell O’Quinn shared a pdf of the ordinance on his LinkedIn page–and he encourages everyone to read it.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions, come out to the Transportation Committee meeting at City Hall on Wednesday, January 22 at 2PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

“I really would like people to read the ordinance and share their thoughts at the meeting on Wednesday. I also welcome any feedback that people want to provide via email or LinkedIn.”

City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn

What sort of micro-mobility would you like to see in Birmingham? Let us know by tagging @bhamnow on social media!

  • Tennessee native who fell in love with Birmingham during college. Graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2019. Passionate about Birmingham and its continued growth.