CLEVELAND — Remember when Bird e-scooters flew into town last year, only to vanish just as quickly as they came? Well, they could be making a more permanent return if future legislation goes through.
Bird scooters were dropped in Cleveland last August only to disappear in less than a couple weeks. This was after the city sent a letter to the company requiring them to remove them from city sidewalks citing safety, amongst other things.
But now, the city is on the verge of pushing through legislation that would allow a return. Councilman Matt Zone, who chairs the city safety committee, says there was a lot of interest in e-scooters, but laws and regulation didn’t exist.
“There’s a lot of interest, not only from residents in the community, but visitors. And quite honestly, a lot of councilmembers want to support better mobility in our city,” said Zone.
He says city council and the city administration were both working on ordinances that could bring scooters back. And now the two branches of government have come together to decide exactly what those rules should be.
“We’re going to create a code of regulations that all providers of these devices would have to follow,” Zone said. That means Bird and its rivals would have an equal opportunity to be active in Cleveland.
Zone says the best case scenario could see scooters return to Cleveland by the end of June.
The process begins with a May 31st special meeting by the safety committee to discuss the legislation. A final vote by council would also have to take place – a process that could take several days.
Zone noted that he’d like the new rules to pass quickly so that e-scooter companies can take advantage of summer months and big events like the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Legislation would likely include a process for companies to attain permits before leaving scooters on sidewalks. Similar rules are in place in other major cities.
E-scooter companies are active in more than 100 cities around the world, and they want to add Cleveland to the list.