Unannounced 'Bird' Scooter Rentals Ruffle Some Feathers

Aug 10, 2018

Bird is the word…if you’re 60’s rock band The Trashmen, but not if you’re a city official looking to regulate rentable scooters.

When the company Bird dropped its scooters in Cambridge unannounced, city officials ordered them off the streets by August 3rd. Somerville soon followed with a cease and desist letter. However, in Providence the company doesn’t appear to have ruffled as many feathers.

Sarah Mitchell, Rhode Island Bicycle Coalition board chair,  said scooter sharing can ease short-distance travel and free up space on roads and in parking lots. But, she said there is one problem.

"Bird does tell their users to ride in the streets. Our streets don’t feel safe. And in terms of riding in the sidewalk or riding in the street, I’m going to feel safer on the sidewalk because I don’t have these one ton vehicles behind me feeling like they’re going to hit me or kill me," Mitchell said

Bird offers to remit the dollar per day it costs to rent a scooter to city governments to help them build more bike lanes. In a statement, a Bird spokesperson says the company continues to have productive conversations with city officials.

According to Providence’s Department of Public Works and Department of Planning and Development,  a policy regarding the scooters is currently being finalized.