Controversy surrounding Bird scooters in Ann Arbor

Posted at 7:17 AM, Sep 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-18 07:17:29-04

It appears the city of Ann Arbor is confiscating Bird scooters after the company rolled out the new electronic scooter tech in the city without input from city officials.

According to Howard Lazarus, Ann Arbor’s city administrator, the e-scooters have been popular but they’re, “not licensed and riders may not legally ride them in the right-of-way at this time.”

That doesn’t mean the city is banning the e-scooters for good. In the city administrators monthly report to city council, he noted that they city believes quality of life will improve with more mobility companies coming to the city — what isn’t as certain is whether companies will be on-board with the propositions being made by the city to do so.

“City staff is proposing to create a basic regulatory environment for these scooter-sharing companies where they sign license agreements to operate in our right-of-way,” wrote Lazarus.

That offer comes with a franchise fee for the companies operating in the city of Ann Arbor, and a license fee for each individual scooter.

7 Action News has reached out to Bird to determine how they’ll react to the latest news of their roll-out in Michigan.

In the past, following a roll-out in Detroit, the company has said that each location is a “pilot program.” Issues have popped up in some citieswhere,similar to Ann Arbor, scooters have been confiscated. In Nashville videos of city workers collecting dozens of e-scooters and throwing them into the back of trucks became common sights on Twitter, Instagram and local newscasts. 

Asked about whether they expected similar issues in Detroit, the company noted that, “in some instances, we pause on operations while working with cities to develop their pilot frameworks.”

As we learn more about Ann Arbor’s plans, and Bird’s plans, we’ll update you on