'Bird' scooters to continue operations in Scottsdale after cease and desist

Posted at 3:52 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-17 01:26:25-04

A dockless electric scooter service will be allowed to continue operating in Scottsdale after city officials met with the company Wednesday night. 

Last week, hundreds of black electric scooters started popping up in Scottsdale and Tempe after "Bird" launched their on-demand rental service. 

Using a smartphone app, customers can rent the scooters in a similar way to existing bike-sharing programs. 

City officials sent Bird a cease and desist letter, alleging the company was staging the scooters on public property and threatened to fine $400 plus court costs per scooter, per day, for each violation. 

A city spokesman said despite their request to meet with Bird representatives before the service’s launch; the company deployed the scooters on May 10. 

On Wednesday, the City of Scottsdale issued this statement to ABC15:

City Manager Jim Thompson and city staff met with Bird representatives this morning and Bird agreed to comply with all current city ordinances. Bird has agreed to educate users on safe and lawful operation. Bird electric scooters may operate in Scottsdale providing their operation conforms with state laws and city ordinances. The city will continue to work with Bird and other emerging transportation businesses to ensure they operate safely within our community.

Before the meeting, Bird spokesman Kenneth Baer issued a statement that said the company believes it was and is operating lawfully under the City of Scottsdale’s and State of Arizona’s existing regulations.

In Scottsdale, because the scooters are motorized, there are different restrictions than riding a bicycle. 

A city spokesman said it is illegal to park or ride electric scooters on sidewalks, park electric scooters on public property or ride them on a street where the speed limit is more than 25-miles-an-hour. ABC15 witnessed Bird users breaking those regulations on Wednesday afternoon. 

When registering for the Bird service, users agree to park the scooters at “a lawful parking spot,” and riders agree not to operate the vehicle “in any location that is prohibited, illegal and/or a nuisance to others.” 

Users also agree not to ride on sidewalks, public parking structures, without a helmet or without a valid drivers license. Some of those restrictions are also printed on the scooters themselves. 

A Bird spokesman said Wednesday users will now be required to take a photo of where the scooter is parked upon completing their ride. The change “will prompt our users to think of others when parking and help ensure that parking rules can be enforced,” the company said.