Columbia works on plan to regulate Bird scooters

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COLUMBIA - Assistant City Counselor Jose Caldera announced the city and Bird are talking about short-term rules regulating the rental scooters.

Caldera talked with the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council Tuesday afternoon. 

Bird scooters first landed in Columbia about a month ago and now there are about 350 scooters scattered throughout the city. 

Caldera added the city is studying what other cities are doing to regulate the company and citizen's use of the scooters. 

The company is currently operating in Columbia without a business license. Caldera says the company applied for one, but the city denied it. 

The city's short-term agreement is expected to span over one year and to include concerns like parking regulation, location of scooters, enforcement and ADA compliancy.

According to the council, riding motorized vehicles on sidewalks in Columbia business districts is prohibited. However, some Bird users find the sidewalk to be the safest place for them to ride. 

"I ride mine on the sidewalk," said Shardae Williams, an MU student. "I typically ride with earphones so I don't know if someone is behind me and I want to stay safe at all times."

Tootie Burns, a member of the leadership council, wondered about who would enforce the rules. 

"Are we going to ask our police officers to enforce that?" Burns asked. "I'm not sure if there is the time for them to enforce that."

Caldera said the short-term agreement will allow more time to have more conversations with city leaders about the scooters' future.