Bird Scooters Press Pause For Permit Talks With Cleveland

A Bird electric scooter in Cleveland before the company decided to temporarily remove them. [Adrian Ma / ideastream]
A Bird electric scooter in Cleveland before the company decided to temporarily remove them. [Adrian Ma / ideastream]

Bird is removing its electric scooters from Cleveland today. The company says in a written statement it is “voluntarily pausing our operations” while it works with the city to come to an agreement for ongoing operations of their dockless e-scooters. 

“We have had productive conversations with Councilman Kerry McCormack and community members, and are hopeful that we will be able to collaborate with the City on their permitting process,” according to a Bird spokesperson.

On Twitter, the councilman expressed his support for ongoing discussions with the goal of “permanent operation.”

 

 

Bird’s decision to temporarily cease operations in Cleveland comes a day after Cleveland State University notified students, faculty and staff that it would not allow the scooters on campus. The message said the university would store scooters found on school property and return them to the company.

“Given the safety issues with these rentals, numerous cities across the country, including Cleveland, have banned their use and cautioned individuals not to utilize them on sidewalks and city streets. Our number one concern is your safety,” the CSU letter read.

A CSU spokesman says the university has picked up some scooters and Bird has retrieved them. When asked if the university would allow the scooters on campus if an agreement could be reached between the city and Bird, he could not comment on next steps “until after the results of discussions are known.”

More than a week ago, 100 scooters appeared on sidewalks in Cleveland neighborhoods including downtown, the Flats and Ohio City. That day, the city’s law director instructed Bird to remove the scooters citing a lack of permits to place property on city sidewalks.

“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 letter stated.

Bird scooters are dockless electric-powered vehicles that can travel up to 15 miles an hour. Using an app, riders can pick up and leave the scooters anywhere. According to the Bird website, the scooters are picked up nightly for maintenance and repositioned daily.

The city’s letter on August 10, said it would impound the scooters, but one week later, none had been removed.

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