CLEVELAND – It’s the newest craze taking over sidewalks downtown.
It’s good for those looking for a quicker way to get around downtown, but bad for the city who calls them a “safety issue”
BIRD dropped off about 100 electric scooters in Cleveland on Friday. The scooters are available to rent using an Uber-like app that lets you know the location of the scooter and charges you based on distance and time.
It didn’t take long for them to catch on. But the city says they need to go away because the company didn’t obtain permits to place property on city sidewalks.
They sent a letter to BIRD on August 10 asking them to remove them that same night.
The letter reads in its entirety:
Dear Bird Rides,
On Friday, August 10, 2018, Sam Reed notified the City of Cleveland that Bird Rides has started a demonstration pilot of its electric, shared-use scooter service in Cleveland, starting with a fleet of 100 scooters in the downtown, Flats, and Ohio City neighborhoods of Cleveland. We have seen these scooters parked unattended on the sidewalks of the City. Please be aware that Bird Rides, its agents, or customers, are not permitted to place property on the sidewalks of the City without obtaining a permit. There are no permits for the scooters placed throughout the City. We believe that you would agree that the placement of unattended, commercial, electric scooters on City sidewalks raises important safety issues that need to be fully explored and properly addressed with the City. Please remove any scooters from the public rights of way, which includes streets and sidewalks, and other public property tonight, August 10, 2018. Based on your representation that the scooters are removed nightly, this should not be a problem. Because your business model depends on the scooters being left unattended on the sidewalks of the City, please do not “reintroduce” the scooters to the public sidewalks or public parks in the morning. Unattended scooters on the sidewalks are subject to removal and impoundment.
The letter is signed by Law director Barbara Langhenry.
But here we are days later, and the scooters are still here.
Bird released a statement of its own saying they’ve submitted the proper paperwork and hope to help improve transportation in Cleveland.
A spokesperson said :
"Bird scooters are helping cities meet their ambitious goals of reducing carbon emissions and cutting car traffic. We are encouraged to see the people of Cleveland embrace our vehicles, and are hopeful that Bird will help the city continue to thrive.
Bird has submitted the necessary paperwork to operate as a business in Cleveland. We have reached out to local officials and look forward to working with the city of Cleveland to develop a framework that permits our affordable and convenient transportation option."
So far it appears no scooters have been impounded by the city, as many are still available in the app. But who knows when that may change.