PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The battle between the rental scooter industry and Panama City Beach over new regulations went on for years. Now that its settled, the city is turning its attention towards low speed vehicles, or LSVs.
As of Thursday, no more LSVs can be registered in city limits, unless they can prove they had ordered them before May 12. This discussion began at the last council meeting when Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman told the council the number of LSVs jumped from 93 to 194 in the past year.
Council members said they worried if they didn't get a handle on the situation the number of LSVs would grow to be unmanageable.
"I understand when you say Front Beach Road is an amusement that may sound good, but it's not," said Mayor Mike Thomas. "It's a state highway and it's a state highway with a 35 mile per hour speed limit, and one of these LSVs are allowed to go over 25 miles per hour, and we thought as a group, I know I thought that if that number increased like scooters did, it would get to be quite a problem."
Those in the industry say it will hurt their business.
"When you put a moratorium or a ban on something you prevent growth," Tony Horton, the owner of Bike the Beach PCB, said. "You prevent competition. There are places here in Panama City Beach that are a black eye in our tourism industry and when you prevent that growth and competition they get lackadaisical. They realize that they can't be pushed out."
The city is working on setting a date for a workshop to meet with the rental LSV business owners. They plan on coordinating with the owners to set a time and date that works for everyone.