Bird Ride Electric Scooters Arrive In Cleveland

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It takes a smartphone app and a dollar to unlock the Bird electric scooters that can go up to 15 miles an hour on city streets.

Cleveland city councilman Kerry McCormack likes that it will encourage people to get out of their cars.

"The easier we make it for people to connect to different parts of our city, the more vibrant our city will be," McCormack said. "And I think it’s key to embrace new ideas in Cleveland in order to make us a more innovative city."

But riders not wearing a helmet or using bike lanes on the street, pose some public health concerns, says Rick Novickis with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

"I would have some real concerns about having people on these smaller scooters, not being that visible to drivers, and potential traffic accidents and severe injuries," Novickis said.

Bird Ride typically launches its electric scooter service in cities without notifying officials. The dockless scooters can be left anywhere -- potentially cluttering sidewalks and causing a hazard.

On Friday, Cleveland's law director Barbara Langhenry instructed the company to remove the scooters from public property because it had not obtained the necessary permits. 

"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," the statement read.

According to Bird's policy, scooters are picked up and repositioned daily. Langhenry's statement asked the company not to "reintroduce" the scooters or they would be impounded.

Bird has expanded the dock-free scooters throughout some 20 cities in the U.S., including Columbus.

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