They're a wildly popular way to get around, and they've just made a big comeback. The city pulled electric scooters in June, but the companies have just relaunched. Police said the same problems are happening all over again.

"If I park up in Printers Alley, I can swipe my credit card real quick and boom! I'm down the hill," said street musician Jeremy Walter. 

Like so many in Nashville, Walter loves electric scooters.

"Downtown people need to get to West End or whatever, back and forth, they're great!" he said.

Another Nashvillian, Trent Pennington, has concerns about the downtown mix of scooters and alcohol.

"I don't think just anyone should be able to get on one of these," he said.  "I think they're a safety hazard to downtown Nashville."

Since the scooters returned, the concerns of metro police have come with them.

Lieutenant David Leavitt said the scooters are supposed to be on the street or bike lanes in business districts, but riders are almost always on the sidewalk.

"We have scooters being dumped in large numbers in the middle of sidewalks and pedestrian walkways," Leavitt said. "It's causing us major problems when we have events at Nissan Stadium or Live on the Green. We literally had our sidewalks overrun with these scooters. We're out there to protect the public, keeping the sidewalks clear, keeping pedestrians moving, removing obstacles is part of what we do. It's just one more task we have to keep up with."

At a recent event at Nissan Stadium, Leavitt said there were 100 scooters left on the sidewalks. He said another officer saw 18 scooters coming down a sidewalk at one time during Live on the Green. Leavitt said there have been written citations, but there are too many violations taking place to catch them all.

Another police concern is for helmets. As part of the ordinance to bring back the scooters, the city asked electric scooter companies to emphasize helmet use. Police said they're not seeing helmets actually being used.

A rep for the Bird electric scooter told News 4 in a statement:

Rider education is very important for Bird, and we are committed to partnering with all cities to ensure that the community, and its visitors, safely embrace our affordable, environmentally friendly transportation option. We strive to improve and enhance the well-being of our riders and communities through concrete action, including: restricting the maximum speed of the vehicles, requiring riders to upload a driver’s license and confirm they are 18 or older, providing an in-app tutorial on how to ride a Bird and how to park it, and posting clear safety instructions on each Bird. Bird was also the first in the industry to offer free helmets to its riders. To date, Bird has distributed more than 40,000 free helmets to riders. Additionally, Bird recently formed the Global Safety Advisory Board, which will create, advise, and implement global programs, campaigns, and products to improve the safety of those riding Birds and other e-scooters. 

We strongly recommend reporting any incidents that Bird scooters are involved in, as we have a support team dedicated to safety that is available around the clock to address questions and reports we receive. We provide a number of ways for people to reach us including by email (, our in-app messaging feature, and by phone. We strive to respond to all inquiries in a timely fashion and are continually striving for an immediate response time.” 

"The concern we have is people don't seem to be following the recommendations from the companies themselves," said Leavitt.

"I love them," said Walter, referring to the scooters. "I just think there needs to be some better sanctions in place or precautions for these things. Serious injury could happen to someone."

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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