Cleveland officials slam the brakes on shared-use Bird electric scooters

Cleveland officials slam the brakes on shared-use Bird electric scooters
Cleveland officials have clipped the company's wings after Bird launched its pilot program Friday. (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Bird, a Santa Monica-based electric scooter company, launched a pilot program in Cleveland Friday, but the project has already hit a wall.

The dockless, shared-use scooters can be rented for a $1 through an app, and users can pick them up and drop them off where they please, or so the company hoped.

On Friday evening, Cleveland Law Director Barbara Langhenry delivered a blow when she ordered that all 100 scooters be removed from the city's public streets and sidewalks.

Langhenry noted that safety risks and a lack of permits drove the city's decision to slam the brakes on the program.

The company has also ruffled feathers in several other test cities due to accidents, injuries and permit issues.

Read Langhenry's full statement to Bird Rides below:

On Friday, August 10, 2018, Sam Reed notified the City of Cleveland that Bird Rides has started a demonstration pilot of its electric, shared-use scooter service in Cleveland, starting with a fleet of 100 scooters in the downtown, Flats, and Ohio City neighborhoods of Cleveland.  We have seen these scooters parked unattended on the sidewalks of the City.  Please be aware that Bird Rides, its agents, or customers, are not permitted to place property on the sidewalks of the City without obtaining a permit.  There are no permits for the scooters placed throughout the City.  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. Please remove any scooters from the public rights of way, which includes streets and sidewalks, and other public property tonight, August 10, 2018.  Based on your representation that the scooters are removed nightly, this should not be a problem.  Because your business model depends on the scooters being left unattended on the sidewalks of the City, please do not "reintroduce" the scooters to the public sidewalks or public parks in the morning.   Unattended scooters on the sidewalks are subject to removal and impoundment.

Return to Cleveland 19 for updates on this developing story.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.