Electric scooters: The new way to get around Louisville

Electric scooters: The new way to get around Louisville
WAVE 3 News Reporter Andreina Centlivre took a Bird scooter for spin.
The scooters, seen here on Bardstown Road, can be rented wherever people see them and left anywhere. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The scooters, seen here on Bardstown Road, can be rented wherever people see them and left anywhere. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
People wanting to rent a scooter must download the Bird app and complete several steps. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
People wanting to rent a scooter must download the Bird app and complete several steps. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Electric scooters are available to rent in Louisville through a smart phone application called Bird. The rental service is dockless and scooters are parked in random places throughout the city.

Bird operates in more than 20 locations, but the business has not always been well received. In Louisville, city officials said the company launched too soon.

Will Ford, Communications Specialist for Develop Louisville/Codes and Regulations, said the city was working with Bird to establish safety guidelines.

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"Bird's launch was premature, and we encourage them to continue working with city officials to implement their product into our city's transportation network safely and equitably," Ford said in a provided statement.

The scooter's speed tops out at 15 miles per hour. Other regulations of the rental service are harder to enforce. To ride a scooter, a Bird spokesperson said riders must wear a helmet, be 18 years of age, and have a driver's license.

Even with the numerous regulations from Bird, other cities ordered the company to stop their business.

"I've heard there have been issues about where they've been parked, where they have been left," Frank Muscato said.

Muscato owns Pedego, an electric bike shop. He understands the concerns with the dockless rental system. Once you're done riding there isn't a designated return spot.

"There's nothing worse than pulling up to park somewhere and the scooter is sitting in front of you," Muscato said.

Louisville city representatives have not said if they will stop Bird from operating.

Muscato hopes not. He said other Pedego chains around the country have benefited from the electric scooter rentals.

"People get a taste of electric transportation," Muscato said.

Bird employees clear the sidewalks at sunset and charge the scooters overnight. The staff consists of local individuals who sign up through the application. Bird is looking for more employees to charge scooters and return them to the streets by 7 a.m. each day.

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