Bird adds $100 fines for dangerously parked scooters

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COLUMBIA - The Bird scooter company is fining people $100 if they park the scooters incorrectly.

The Bird app now requires each rider to take a picture after parking the scooter. The picture is intended to verify the Bird is properly parked. If the Bird is improperly parked after the ride, the company can send the rider a fine.

MU student Kate Harding takes a Bird to class often.

"I park my scooter where it is most convenient," Harding said. "This is normally right by the stairs on the way to the door."

Dawn Zeterberg, a member on the Columbia Disability Commission, said this is the problem.

"People don't care," Zeterberg said.

Zeterberg uses a wheelchair and said Bird scooters cause her a lot of problems.

"They block all over the sidewalk and they block curb cuts," Zeterberg said.

Zeterberg said clear access to the curb cuts are essential for her to travel around downtown in her wheelchair.

"They are a big pain in the butt," Zeterberg said.

In addition to the fines, the University of Missouri has taken steps to increase the safety for all pedestrians.

The company introduced "slow zones," where the speed of the scooters automatically decrease when crossing the imaginary line. The "slow zones" are on the MU campus as well as the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail.

Zeterberg said when she hears a scooter approaching, she fears for her safety.

"I just have to get out of the way," Zeterberg said. "They don't care about people in chairs."

Zeterberg and Harding agree a parking rack for scooters could be beneficial.

"I think its good to keep people accountable to make sure their Birds are out of the way," Harding said.

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