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Bird scooters flock to Bismarck

Bird scooters flock to Bismarck

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Anne Brunner checks out a Bird scooter on Fourth Street in downtown Bismarck on Wednesday afternoon. The battery-powered scooters have arrived at a number of locations and are available for use by the public, for a fee.

Bird scooters are flocking to Bismarck streets following approval from the city commission.

One hundred of the electric rental scooters are available for people 18 and older who want to get around town at speeds of up to 15 mph.

The commission entered into an agreement with the California-based Bird company in March and approved an ordinance at a meeting Tuesday to allow the scooters downtown. Riders download an app to their phones to activate scooters near them and pay for their trip. The vehicles cost $1 to rent with a per-minute ride fee.

Anne Brunner, of Bismarck, was surprised at how nimble the two-wheeled scooters are. "They are very light and very cool. My son weighs more -- he's 2 and is 35 pounds," she said.

Riders can scoot only within predetermined boundaries, and the scooters will slow and beep if driven outside the limits. They can be operated on the street similar to a bicycle, and riders are encouraged to wear a helmet. The scooters are equipped with a hand brake and a kickstand for parking.

The Bird app shows riders where the scooters are, and where they can and can't be operated or parked. The Tom O'Leary Golf Course, for example, is identified as a "No ride or park zone," and users are informed they can't ride on certain roads, such as State Street.

A person can be charged with driving under the influence on a Bird scooter, City Attorney Jannelle Combs told the Tribune.

Police Chief Dave Draovitch said previously that the department has no concerns with the scooter program, and Bismarck Downtowners Chief Operating Officer Kate Herzog supports the program.

The agreement between the city and Bird will last until the end of the year, though the vehicles will hibernate for the winter. The company will collect and store the scooters during the colder months.

Reach Sam Nelson at 701-250-8264 or sam.nelson@bismarcktribune.com.

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