Bird agrees to pull scooters from Nashville streets - WSMV News 4

Bird agrees to pull scooters from Nashville streets

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Bird has agreed to pull its scooters from the streets in Nashville after more than 400 were seized on Thursday.

Metro Public Works confiscated the scooters after sending the company a letter directing the scooters to be removed by Thursday.

Bird said in a statement Thursday afternoon it is working with the city to enact regulations for the scooters to return.

"We are glad to be working with the Nashville mayor and city council to build a framework that permits affordable transportation options that help the city reach its goals of getting cars off the road and reducing emissions," said Bird spokesman Kenneth Baer in a statement. "While this work is underway, we have agreed to remove our scooters from the streets of Nashville. We hope the ordinance is completed as soon as possible so we can get back to helping people easily get around Nashville."

Last week Metro picked up scooters that were left abandoned on sidewalks and right-of-ways and returned them to Bird.

Metro sent a letter to Bird directing the company to remove all Bird Scooters from streets, sidewalks, parks, greenways and public areas.

Metro said the company did not comply, so Thursday it seized them from anyone who was riding or parking the scooters illegally.

Sam Jorgenson can't ride this scooter in his hometown of New York.

“They are quite dangerous. There are a lot more commuters and cyclists there,” said Jorgenson.

He says the conditions in Music City, however, are just right.

“They are great. They are super convenient to get around."

Jorgenson's hotel warned if he left his on the sidewalk he would get fined $50 by Bird.

The company says it cares about safety as much as Metro does, but Metro said parking isn't the only problem.

Councilman Jeremy Elrod has proposed an ordinance regulating the scooter company even more.

If passed, it would limit the number of scooters that could be used in the city.

It would also require Bird to pay a $40 fee per scooter.

“It’s an outright power and money grab is all it is,” said Justin Owen. "It’s become a regular occurrence for city leaders who don’t like something or haven’t been able to get into something and regulate what is a new idea to say well this is banned until we have an opportunity to tell you how to run your business.”

Owen is the CEO of the Beacon Center, a government watchdog group.

“They did this with Uber, they did this with Airbnb pretty much any new technology that comes on the scene they want to stop it until they dictate how it's being regulated."

Councilmen Elrod says Metro has a legal duty to regulate.

"Metro government has a legal duty to make sure any vehicle that uses the right of way, whether a street or sidewalk, does so in safe manner and in conjunction with others that are also using our streets and sidewalks. Without proper regulation, dockless vehicle companies like Bird could use Metro sidewalks as storage for their scooters. I disagree with the Beacon Center’s logic, which if you follow it means we shouldn’t register cars or trucks, require driver licenses, regulate street parking, or require any permits for developers closing streets and sidewalks as they build skyscrapers. Streets and sidewalks belong to the public and not a private company for storage of the equipment, and Metro will be debating the proper regulation of dockless vehicles in the coming weeks.”

A spokesperson for Bird scooters previously sent us a statement saying it was not planning to withdraw from Nashville. They also sent us this statement:

“We are encouraged to see the Metro Council is quickly and thoughtfully taking action to build a framework that permits affordable transportation options that help Nashville reach its goals of getting cars off the road and reducing emissions. We are glad to be working with them and are aligned with many local leaders who want to develop a comprehensive framework. We also agree that no vehicles – cars, bikes or e-scooters – should prevent people from safely traveling on sidewalks or other public rights-of-way. In fact, Bird has proposed and is adhering to a rigorous set of interim ground rules that we hope the City views as a model while permitting us to operate throughout the ordinance process.”

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