A fleet of electric scooters have landed in downtown Raleigh. The Bird scooters are supposed to make it easier to get around town, but they have definitely ruffled some feathers.
Take a walk through downtown Raleigh and you will likely see birds flying past you.
A California start-up perched the electric, dockless scooters around town. Riders activate them through a phone app and ride them for a fee.
Hugh Grist is a fan. “They are a little scary at first, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly,” he said.
Hattie Walker rides as well.
“They are really accessible,” she said. “They get you places twice as fast as a bicycle or walking, and they are just really fun.”
But she worries that too many Birds on streets and sidewalks are an accident waiting to happen.
“I feel like it is only a matter of time before someone is hurt on them,” she said.
Raleigh City Council has heard complaints about parked scooters blocking sidewalks and close calls with pedestrians.
Tom Worth says he was nearly hit twice.
“For the safety of the pedestrians in this city, they better do something fairly quickly,” he said.
Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane said the new rides arrived in town without permits or licenses.
“We didn’t know anything about it and all of sudden 150 of them showed up,” she said.
At a meeting on Tuesday, council gave city staff a month to draft new rules for the Birds.
McFarlane pointed out that Bird riders are subject to the rules of the road.
“Part of the issue is also if there is enforcement that goes along with them, they should help pay with that,” she said.
According to the Bird app, riders must be 18 and have a valid driver’s license, must stay off sidewalks and must wear a helmet. The many riders ignoring those rules are making more work for the city.