COLUMBIA -- Bird Scooters have officially returned to downtown Columbia this week after the City Council voted to bring them back in March.
The agreement between Bird Rides, Inc and the City of Columbia says more than 500 scooters will be back for one year, unless the contract is terminated.
According to previous KOMU 8 reporting, the operational agreement comes with two $10,000 fees that the company will pay to the city of Columbia and the University of Missouri, respectively. The university and city will split a daily $2 fee for each bird in operation.
According to the Bird app, local rules for the scooters include:
- No riding on sidewalks -- only on streets and where bike lanes are available
- No riding or parking in public parking structures
- No riding without a helmet
- No double riding
- No riding without a valid driver’s license
- As for enforcement of these rules, Sydney Olsen, Public Information Officer for the City of Columbia, said most rules will be enforced by local representatives with Bird.
“Bird is primarily responsible for enforcing those, which is why the city and university wanted them to have people here locally,” Olsen said. “So if we did receive complaints, or if someone used the app to complain that there was a scooter in the way, or something along those lines, they would have people here locally who could go on foot and actually remove that and sort out that issue.”
However, Olsen said the Columbia Police Department is responsible for any moving violations on the scooters, like if someone on a scooter were to blow through a stop sign.
“The Columbia Police Department is responsible for any moving violations they may see,” Olsen said. “If people are on scooters, riders are responsible just like any other vehicle or anyone who's riding a bike or following the laws of traffic.”
Olsen said the City agreed to bring back the scooters, since they provide an environmentally friendly means of transportation.
“The city really wants to provide options for citizens who live here, other than just driving,” Olsen said. “A lot of people like to get around in other ways, and we encourage people to be active and all of those things are more environmentally friendly as well.”
Bird Scooters are considered a shared surface and guidelines say riders are expected to be sanitary and wipe down the scooter after each use.
“So the guidelines around that are for people to wipe down the scooter when they're done with it,” Olsen said. “It's also suggested that they wear gloves and even goggles if they have them. And then once they wipe them down, or spray them and wipe them clean, they can then put them back in the designated parking areas.”
She said it is not clear whether the City or Bird will provide resources to sanitize the scooters.