Panama City Beach Bringing Changes to Moped Rental Ordinance - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Beach Bringing Changes to Moped Rental Ordinance

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You see the motorized scooters driving up and down Front Beach Road, you may have rented one yourself, but in the event that your motorized adventure turns into a crashing disaster, Panama City Beach is looking to keep scooter renters from getting ripped off.

News 13 first brought you this story in July, when this issue was brought before the city council

Then the Police Department addressed cases of cross collateralization. It means using the pooled deposits of a group of mopeds to handle the damages of one.

Its unfair said police Chief Drew Whitman who has worked to make sure renters aren't getting ripped off.

The current ordnance states that a person cannot put down money and obligation for more than his or her own bike, unless a waiver is signed allowing them to do so.

The Police Department has said kids do not know what they are signing and are getting an expensive surprise when they return a damaged bike.

Now, new ordinance will prohibit cross collateralization all together, if it is adopted.

Thursday it made it through the first reading.

Additionally, the ordinance will regulate when and how damages are collected. It's called "limited liability." The company can charge a voluntary crash fee, such as 8 dollars at California Cycles, and that limits a renter's liability to a set fee.

However, the ordinance states a renter must wreck the vehicle before insurance claim can be charged, not before.

All this, Whitman says will go towards protecting the renter, and he was pleased with the first passage of the new ordinance.

"It went the public's way and the community's way and definitely our visitor's way. Cross Collateralization, I was against that because 5 or 6 of your friends go in, one person wrecks their bike, 5 guys lose their money also. I was against that. Fair is fair. The guy who wrecks his bike…penalize him, but don't penalize his friends. So, I think things went well," said Whitman.

California Cycles owner, Rick Roof, has been an outspoken critic to changes, fearing damages to his business. However, he approved of this new ordinance on Thursday and said he is committed to changing business practices.

The ordinance will move to a 2nd and 3rd reading before adoption.