El Segundo Police had no warning Bird scooters were coming. And they weren’t alone. City Hall had no idea they were coming either.
“We were not aware that Bird was planning on deploying these in El Segundo,” said Greg Carpenter, City Manager via email. “We are interested in transportation options but want to understand the City’s options and impacts.”
The scooters had just shown up over the past few days around town. The rentable, electric scooters have been parked at various locations on Main St.
“No, we weren’t aware of them coming in,” said Sgt. De La Rambelje from the El Segundo Police Department’s traffic division. “They are all over Santa Monica and seem to making their way south so it should be no surprise.”
While riders are zipping around town on them, some residents are less than enthusiastic about the scooters. Many of the comments left on the El Segundo Observer Facebook page mention a fear of people getting hurt. There seem to be some confusion over regulations for the people movers. Some talked about issues that Santa Monica is having with them.
Don’t Drink And Scoot
As for operations, the ESPD said they are digging in as we speak. The Sgt. said that he wasn’t exactly clear at this point but was studying it. Things such as DUI’s for example, “which may compare to a DUI on a bicycle?” He added more answers will be coming in the next day or two.
According to the Bird website, the scooters require a person to have both a drivers license and a helmet. They are not to be ridden on the sidewalk, but in the bike lane on the street. The scooter has a regulator on it that won’t let it get above 15 miles per hour. And they are to be driven solo and not at night unless equipped with proper lighting and reflectors.
Bird is just one company in this game. There is also Spin and Lime. Besides scooters, Spin also offers bikes.
Wait And See
For now El Segundo is taking a watch-and-see approach. Both the ESPD and City Hall is trying to get a handle on things before they go too far.
“We are observing the use of the scooters, reviewing the current rules and regulations that may apply,” says Carpenter “and will be meeting with Bird representatives for the first time later this week.
To say that these companies are a hit is an understatement. Investors are loving them. Bird has already raised $115 million and is in line to raise another $150 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia Capital. This will put a value of $1 billion on the company.
Spin was founded in 2016 in San Francisco. They have raised $8 million so far in Series A. Lime is also on the hunt for money. It was reported that they are raising $500 million as well.
It appears that there is no slowdown in the scooter crazy. People are looking to get out of their vehicles and for alternative transportation. So far this seems to fit that need.