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City of Cleveland puts brakes on Bird Ride scooters

If you didn't take one for a spin Friday, you may have already missed your chance.

You may have seen them around downtown Cleveland on Friday.

Bird is the word. And for better or worse, the word traveled fast in our city.

A flock of about 100 electric "bird scooters" popped up all over Cleveland. From downtown to The Flats, and Ohio City.

The electric, dockless scooters work through an app to provide a fun, cheap way to get around town.

However, the city is saying not so fast. If you didn't take one for a spin Friday, you may have already missed your chance.

The city of Cleveland sent the following letter to the company Bird Rides basically saying the scooters have to go.

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.


Barbara Langhenry

Law Director

City of Cleveland

So, they could soon disappear.

City leaders had no clue they were coming and if they aren't gone by Saturday morning, the city says any scooters left unattended will be impounded.

It's not just Cleveland that's fought back against Bird Rides.

Cities like Denver and St. Paul, Minnesota ordered Bird scooters off of its city streets. Just this week, a portion of downtown Kansas City was deemed off-limits to Bird as well.

Stories from across the country show how dangerous the scooters can be. Ask John Montgomery, who rented a scooter in Los Angeles.

"It launched me in the air and I landed on the sidewalk on my face and my wrists," he recalls.

John was left with a broken jaw, fractured wrist, and permanent damage to his hearing. He blames his crash on mechanical problems and is suing the Bird Company.

Bird tells NBC News that it prioritizes safety and investigates all reports of vehicle malfunction and accidents. They also say they've given away 40,000 helmets.

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