Holmes Beach commission to revisit ‘ScootCoupe’ ban

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Mark Toomey, owner of Robinhood Rentals in Anna Maria, speaks Jan. 28 against Holmes Beach’s ban on scooter/cars. Islander Photo: ChrisAnn Allen
Three-wheel scooter/cars, which are available for rent in Anna Maria, are prohibited from traveling on Holmes Beach streets. Islander File Photo

Holmes Beach officials are rethinking a ban on three-wheeled scooter/cars.

Mark Toomey, owner of Robinhood Rentals in Anna Maria, spoke at a Jan. 28 city commission meeting against the prohibition on renting and operating scooter cars in Holmes Beach. His business rents the vehicles, branded as ScootCoupes.

City commissioners Jan. 14 unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting ScootCoupes from rental or operation in the city. The measure also regulates bike- and scooter-shares, as well as renting and operating motorized scooters and Segways.

Toomey said he was unaware of the ordinance until recently, as his business operates in Anna Maria. The measure was under review in Holmes Beach for nearly a year before approval.

A ScootCoupe is an open-air, three-wheeled vehicle, powered by a 49cc engine, that can travel up to 38 mph. There are no scooter cars for rent in Holmes Beach, but residents have complained about people recklessly driving scooter cars through the city’s neighborhoods and on the main streets.

Toomey told commissioners attorney Louis Najmy, of the Najmy Thompson firm in Bradenton, contacted city attorney Patricia Petruff regarding amending the prohibition.

Petruff said Aaron Thomas, also of the Najmy Thompson firm, and Anna Maria city attorney Becky Vose said the ban was “overbroad,” so she and Police Chief Bill Tokajer reviewed state statutes and determined the city could “regulate” the vehicles, but not ban them.

Petruff suggested the city commission revisit the initial plan to keep the vehicles off roads with higher speed limits and go back to restricting them to streets with speed limits of 25 mph or less.

Petruff said she asked Tokajer to direct officers not to issue tickets to people operating the vehicles until the ordinance is revisited. Additionally, she asked him to contact Robinhood Rentals and let them know the ordinance is under review.

Toomey said there have been no accidents in the past 20 months in Holmes Beach involving ScootCoupes and suggested he meet with Tokajer to discuss the vehicles.

Petruff asked Toomey to back up his claims. And she agreed a meeting with Tokajer could be helpful. She also said, after the commission discusses the revision, she would provide Toomey and the Najmy Thompson firm with a draft for their review.

The commission agreed to reconsider the ordinance at a future meeting.

2 thoughts on “Holmes Beach commission to revisit ‘ScootCoupe’ ban

  1. Island taxpayer

    We all know what it’s like to get behind one of the many types of ‘alternative vehicles’ being used on this island. You can usually spot one from the long line of cars behind them. These do not improve traffic flow on our main roads but hinder it even more. Ban them.

  2. Janet Aubry

    Here we go again. The citizens of Holmes Beach decide they don’t want go karts zipping around night and day on their streets and in their neighborhood. Driven by rookies, and adding to the already disneyesque atmosphere of what was once a normal neighborhood, they are just one more dangerous distraction on already overcrowded roads. I live in terror I or somebody will kill them as they obliviously zip around unseen among clusters of other cars, small vehicles, trucks, buses, trolleys, carts, bikes, strollers, foot traffic, etc just trying to back out of my driveway on to a road designed only for low density auto traffic. OMG now we have lawyers crawling out of the woodwork defending their clients ‘rights’ to be flattened by cars and demanding that Holmes Beach comply with the madness. In Anna Maria. Home rule people! Do the opinions of what the responsible and caring residents of Holmes Beach rationally decide to do in their community for the safety of all matter? Or does the attorney for the City of Anna Maria and some yahoo law firm from town get to decide for them waving their “interpretation” of what must be done! I hope Holmes Beach continues to be the bell cow for what is safe, normal and correct around here and tells all those irrelevent interlopers to take a hike …. after looking both ways ….in the crosswalk.

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