Bird scooters wrongfully banned from Downtown Cleveland
by kris Spader
Sophomore majoring in Civil Engineering with a minor in Mathematics
Recently, a company called “Bird” changed the transportation game and released a product that was easy to use, and more importantly, cheap. This product was a simple electric-powered scooter. These scooters could get students and residents of Cleveland around the city with ease.
However, as fast as these scooters showed up, they were banned just as quick from Cleveland State campus and then forced out of Cleveland. One big reason, many believe, this ban took place was because of a recent accident where a woman was struck and killed while riding one of the scooters.
Most people blame the Bird scooters saying they are dangerous and this incident is an example. But no one asked who was driving. Others say they block the sidewalk but Bird has also handled this problem as well. Many other reasons have come up to why they were banned but most either are just ridiculous or just don’t make sense.
The woman who was killed while riding the Bird scooter was riding at night, which may have made it hard to see the rider while driving a car. However, the scooter has flashing lights which make them visible. Then those who claim that the accident is due to the scooter, don’t know that the driver was found to be under the influence of either alcohol or other substances.
So instead of focusing on DUI’s in Cleveland, people use this accident as an excuse to ban Bird scooters in Cleveland while all this accident proved is that DUI’s are the issue, not the scooters.
Another reason some wanted to see these scooters gone is because people were either riding them down the sidewalk at high speeds or parking them and blocking sidewalks.
While this does happen, Bird does have rules about where to ride their scooters and where to park them. Bird scooters are supposed to be rode in the bike lane or on the side of the street like a bike. Then when parking them, riders are suppose to park them near the curb and away from crosswalks.
Again, while these rules were not always followed, simple tickets by police, extra charges to riders who break the rules, or even banning certain people from riding all together could have easily fixed these problems. Some will still argue that the scooters are unsafe to ride on roads or even on the sidewalks because either the rider or pedestrian can be injured.
While in some cases this may be true, the Bird scooters can be compared to a bike. Bikes easily make speeds of 15 mph and have a specific lane to ride in and are give accommodations so riders are safe. Yet when the scooters are told to ride with bike riders and follow the same laws, they are hated and called “dangerous”, when really it is people who don’t understand the technology itself.
Others may say that kids can easily ride them and hurt themselves or others while riding them, which is very true, and is why only people with drivers licence can use the scooters.
This makes sense because if you are able to drive a vehicle that is made of hard metals, weighs thousands of pounds, and can easily top over 80 mph, why can’t we drive a scooter that is made of plastic, has an electric battery, and tops out at 15 mph?
This product also has simple positives with cheap transportation all around the Cleveland area. It only cost $1 to unlock the scooter from its parked position and then 15 cents for every minute it is used. So only a few bucks are used on a five minute ride. This would have made transport easy, cheap, and fun.
Cleveland is a fast growing city and as more younger generations start to come to the city, they will use services like Uber, Lfyt and other ride services to get around the city. This product was a fast easy way to use your smartphone to get from one place to another.
As the urbanized population grows more and more everyday, these types of products are needed to help residents get around the Cleveland area. Cleveland is not the only city with this product.
Nashville and Orlando are just two other cities that have the Bird scooters. However, they have been there for years now, and instead of trying to force the residents to use the transportation they want them to use, these cities use laws to protect the riders and anyone who else is affected by them.
So why can’t that be done here? Why can’t Cleveland State and the city of Cleveland find ways to let student and residents ride the scooters in a safe way. Instead, these scooters are banned, and it does not look like the ban will be lifted anytime soon.