EAST GRAND FORKS – After being implemented in Grand Forks a few months ago, Bird Rides Inc. is now proposing expanding its scooters to East Grand Forks.
City Council members considered the request during a work session Tuesday evening. Council members have questions about the program. For example: What about scooters being left around the city? And where will scooters be allowed?
Council member Marc DeMers asked about the actions that can be taken if scooters are left in front of doorways and potentially impede wheelchair access to sidewalks.
Julianne Roller, who works in government partnerships with Bird Rides, told council members that a huge part of preventing clutter is through user education. When someone creates an account on the Bird app — how people pay and unlock the scooters — they have to go through educational material, such as how to properly park scooters.
“So this just gives them examples of where to park, not to block ramps, doorways, anything like that,” Roller said.
A local fleet manager will be responsible for ensuring the scooters aren’t left where they aren’t supposed to be. Some ways people can report a scooter is by scanning the QR code on the scooter, using community mode on the Bird app. Roller said contact information is listed on every scooter for people to report problems. If scooters consistently are left in a particular area and cause problems, that area can be marked as a no-park zone.
In addition to being responsible for moving scooters, the fleet manager will be responsible for maintaining the scooters and storing them.
The scooters will be used in bike lanes and on the side of streets. They are able to reach 15 mph.
During Tuesday’s discussion, DeMers said he is in favor of implementing the scooters in the city. He sees them as "an emerging trend."
Mayor Steve Gander also expressed interest, noting the success of scooter programs in other cities.
“It’s almost become a case where if you’re going to be a summertime recreational area, you need to have these,” Gander said. “That’s how cool they are. People are just loving riding these things.”
More discussion on the scooter program — including a memorandum of understanding and ordinances for electric scooters in the city — will be held in the coming weeks.
In other news Tuesday, council members: