Defining a Bird scooter under the law is harder than you’d think, but ACC attorneys now have an answer: They’re mopeds. The designation provides some clarity on what state and local laws regulate the electric scooters—they’re illegal on the sidewalk, but legal to ride in the street or in a bike lane, and riders must wear a helmet.
After meeting with Bird representatives recently, ACC officials concluded that the company is not interested in helping communities deal with problems like scooters blocking sidewalks or thrown into bushes, for example by using geocaching technology to shut them down when they enter a forbidden area, or continuing to run the meter, so to speak, if they’re left in an inappropriate location. “They’re good at making things our problem, is what I got out of the conversation,” ACC Assistant Manager Robert Hiss said.
The next step, ACC Attorney Bill Berryman suggested to the commission’s Legislative Review Committee last week, could be to require Bird—or any other similar company that enters the market—to register its scooters, which he said would facilitate seizing them for legal infractions. Meanwhile, Leisure Services Director Kent Kilpatrick said his department is considering revising a ban on motorized vehicles on the greenway to allow e-scooters and e-bikes. The committee will revisit the issue in November, after tackling property tax reform next month.
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