How to use a Bird scooter in the Twin Cities

Minneapolis, St. Paul struggle to decide how to regulate the new forms of transportation

Edgar Linares
July 10, 2018 - 6:22 pm
Categories: 

You may have already seen them zipping around town, and now the City of Minneapolis is scrambling to regulate the latest ride-sharing program, motorized scooters.

“As far as I’m concerned as along as these scooters are not impeding pedestrians and folks are able to operate them safely they’re a welcome addition to our transportation system,” said Lisa Bender, Minneapolis City Council President.

The motorized scooter ride-share company, called Bird, started sprinkling the dockless scooters around downtown Minneapolis and the north side, as well as downtown St. Paul and Frogtown. The company says they are great for short "last-mile" trips that are too long to walk.

“Bird's mission is to replace these trips – get people out of their cars, reduce traffic and congestion, and cut carbon emissions,” said Michelle Neumayr, with Bird. “In the Twin Cities, it’s clear there’s an urgent need for additional transit options that are accessible, affordable and reliable for all residents and local communities.”

HOW IT WORKS

- First, download the Bird App.
- Then, locate a bike on the map. They’re typically near a bike rack.
- Enter your credit card information. $1 to unlock, $.15 a minute.
- Unlock the bike by scaning the QR code wtih your camera.
- Push the scooter three times with your foot before thumbing the gas on the right handle. 
- The break is on your left.-
- When you're done, park it at a bike rack and end your ride.

By Edgar Linares

 

While the city does not require a helmet by law, the company encourages riders to use them. One thing that could get you a ticket: riding on the sidewalk. 

 

By Edgar Linares

On Tuesday, the Minneapolis City Council passed new regulations to control the new ride-share network by requiring the sharing networks to obtain a license agreement with the city and stipulating that they must follow rules for parking in the right of way.

Since there’s no docking station for the scooters, like Minneapolis’ Nice Ride bikes, they've become a nuisance in other cities with people leaving the scooters laying on the sidewalk and blocking foot traffic. (Later this year Nice Ride plans to go dock-less.)

“It might be a trip hazard, it might be blocking a wheelchair from being able to get through on the sidewalks,” said Jon Wertjes with Minneapolis Department of Public Works. “There’s also issues of about damaging a building or some other property with the scooter.”

The full City Council will vote on the ordinance on July 20.

 

UPDATE:

The City of St. Paul Tuesday night told the company in a letter to remove the scooters from their streets until they can figure out the best way to regulate them.

City leaders tell WCCO-TV they have no timeline as to if or when they could decide on a new ordinance. As of early Wednesday morning, scooters were still seen around the capitol city.