Georgia city bans Bird scooters

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A college town in Georgia has reportedly moved to ban Bird scooters from operating on public property in the city.

{mosads}The mayor and commission in Athens, Ga., voted unanimously on Tuesday to ban the scooters, the The Red & Black student newspaper at the University of Georgia reported.

Local legislators in the consolidated city-county officially known as Athens-Clarke County moved to amend the county code to prohibit Bird Scooters and other “shareable dockless mobility devices” from operating on public property and being “offered for any use in Athens-Clarke County,” citing an ordinance.

The ordinance, which lasts a maximum of 12 months, says that scooters will be banned “until a more permanent solution involving a pilot franchise program may be put in place to safeguard the traveling public and ensure compliance with all local and state laws.” 

The newspaper reported that any company or individual associated with such vehicles in the city will be sent a notice and have 10 days to remove the devices before they become impounded by the county. 

The move comes after Bird’s use was reportedly restricted by the University of Georgia in August. According to the newspaper, the university has confiscated over 1,000 Bird scooters as of Nov. 19, totaling to over $500,000 in impound fees.

A number of residents in Athens have told the newspaper they disagree with the ordinance.

“I don’t see this as a responsibility of Bird but rather one for the individual,” April Brown, chairwoman of the Libertarian Party in Athens, told the newspaper. “Just because a few people are abusing the scooters doesn’t mean we should ban them. Bird also helps provide extra income.”

Bird reportedly pays individual contractors to retrieve the scooters, charge them overnight and place them back on city streets in the morning.

Cheyanne Woodyard, community relations manager for Bird, said the company wants to “fix the issues your city is experiencing, but we don’t believe a ban would allow us to solve these issues.”

“We recognize that [Athens] is different as a municipality, and we hope to work with you directly,” she continued. 

However, District 3 Commissioner Melissa Link rebutted the spokeswoman’s claim, saying the matter is “largely a safety issue.” 

“They are blocking sidewalks left and right — I even saw three directly in front of a hospital,” she added.

Tags bird Scooter

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