National News

Nashville, other cities share concerns about Bird scooters

Posted May 15, 2018 11:13 a.m. EDT

— The Bird scooters suddenly appeared here last Monday and two days later the city sent a cease and desist letter to the company because of safety concerns.

Nashville isn't the first city where Bird has caused a commotion.

Bird Scooters have been in a tug of war in other cities over regulations.

One California city prosecuted and fined the company for not complying with their laws.

Nashville found itself inundated with Bird electric scooters, renters zipping around on sidewalks and leaving them where people might trip.

Now there are new concerns about danger after two riders were hospitalized in a hit-and-run accident this weekend.

Metro officials are scrambling to come up with regulations that never existed before. The city is not alone as it's happening from Atlanta to California.

In San Francisco in March, there were so many electric scooters that some called it "Scootergedden."

City officials quickly wrote legislation requiring companies to get an operating permit.

"If they want to continue this level of arrogance, we will impound their scooters and send them packing," Aaron Peskin, a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, told NBC Bay Area.

Last December the city of Santa Monica, CA, filed misdemeanor charges against Bird and fined them $300,000 for starting without a business license.

Bird said they are helping solve the "last mile" challenge for commuters, providing a convenient way for people to get from Point A to Point B.

Renters are supposed to follow the rules, like wear a helmet.

Nashville's dilemma with electric scooters is similar to what happened with Uber and Lyft.

The rideshare companies moved in, leaving the city to figure out how or if it could regulate them.

Bird's founder, Travis VanderZanden, was an executive at both Uber and Lyft, which had similar business models, move into a city then deal with the fallout.