Scooter rental dealer sues Florida city, county over regulations

Publish Date: 
Jun 10, 2014

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - The owner of a scooter rental business has sued Bay County and the City of Panama City Beach, claiming ordinances that would require safety flags and vests for scooter renters and set insurance requirements for the rental businesses are burdensome and unconstitutional.

Classy Cycles, which does business as California Cycles and has four locations in Panama City Beach and one in the unincorporated area of the county, filed the lawsuit Friday in circuit court asking for damages “that have been and could be incurred” in excess of $15,000, as well as attorney’s fees and costs “for having to point out the obvious unconstitutionality” of the ordinance.

The lawsuit contends state law pre-empts the county’s ordinances.

California Cycles contends it would cost “considerable money” in citations for every ordinance violation for its fleet of 370 mopeds and scooters.

A city ordinance requires that, starting Sept. 1, flag poles must be installed on the back of every moped or scooter, and starting June 8, riders are required to wear a reflective vest with “rental” stamped on the back. The suit claims 90 percent of customers say they would not rent a moped or scooter if forced to wear the vest, according to the News Herald.

The lawsuit further states that should the business be forced to install flags on the back of the scooters, at least three OEMs would void the warranties on the vehicles.

Rick Roof, owner of California Cycles, said Monday he would coordinate with other business owners on the beach to find pro-business candidates to run for seats on the Panama City Beach City Council.

The council is slated to discuss imposing insurance requirements on the scooter rental businesses at Thursday’s meeting. Panama City Beach is considering an insurance requirement on scooter rentals of $10,000 for personal injury, $20,000 total injury and $10,000 operating damage.

Bay County has imposed the same vest and flag pole requirements, as well as requiring scooter businesses in the unincorporated areas to carry $1 million in general liability and $500,000 in bodily injury. Roof contends such insurance is not available. 


From the Dealernews wires