Cleveland orders Bird scooters removed from sidewalks, many remain days later

CLEVELAND--Bird scooters arrived in Cleveland on Friday, only the debut is not taking off like anticipated.

Shortly after hundreds were placed on sidewalks last week, city officials asked the company to remove the electric scooters.

In a message addressed to Bird Rides Inc., Cleveland's law director ordered all scooters be removed from the public right of way which includes, streets sidewalks and other public property the night of Aug. 10.

On Monday, Fox 8 found dozens of scooters parked on sidewalks and still in use across the city.

"I'm a big fan," said Connor Garvey. "They're pretty fast, they get you around quick and they're pretty cheap too."

Users simply download the app, take a picture of the code shown on the electric scooter and it unlocks the scooter for usage with a fee of $1 to start then $0.15 a minute.

Cleveland Ward 3 Councilman Kerry McCormack said he is trying to find middle ground on the issue and urges everyone to keep an open mind.

"We want to create a more connected, better connected community with more forms of transportation so these scooters may very well provide a missing link of transportation," McCormack said.

The biggest issue may come down to permits. According to the city's law director, there are no permits for scooters placed throughout the city.

A Cleveland native visiting from Washington D.C. cautioned the scooters can become a nuisance.

"We've seen the Birds out on the streets and people leave them in the middle of the sidewalk or by the doors, so they get a little lazy and don't push them to the curb," Ed Kutler said.

Others argue the scooters can be dangerous if users ride them on the sidewalk. Bird requires adults to ride with a helmet in and in the roadway, but enforcement would likely fall outside of the company.

"Riding those over bumpy sidewalks with little wheels and no suspension, not for me," Bruce Taylor said.

A Bird spokesperson released a statement that reads in part:

"Bird scooters are helping cities meet their goals of reducing carbon emissions and cutting car traffic. We are encouraged to see the people of Cleveland embrace our vehicles."

Last week, the city's law director stated unattended scooters on the sidewalks were subject to removal and impoundment. At last check, McCormack said he is not aware of any scooters that were removed.

"These are new to our city, they are new to cities across the country," McCormack said. "So a lot of cities are scrambling to take a look at what are those rules and regulations, and what is the law around them. Again, my perspective is lets keep an open mind."

The councilman said the scooter controversy will likely be discussed at their next meeting.