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Bird scooters fly into East Lansing, taking over sidewalks

Posted at 1:47 PM, Sep 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-14 06:16:28-04

Birds are taking over East Lansing. Not the feathered animal, but scooters.

East Lansing is the latest city to get struck by birds in Michigan. They are already in Detroit and Ann Arbor. But it's how the scooters work that has some in the city concerned.

"I see them laying around everywhere. I thought at first, like, I wasn't sure what it was," one student told FOX 47.

The scooters are everywhere around campus -- and city officials admit that's part of the problem.

"We had no notice. And suddenly people started calling us and we saw them on the streets and, uh, and we weren't quite sure what to do about it," said East Lansing Mayor Pro Tem Erik Altmann.

By using an app, you can rent and them drop them off virtually anywhere. Many times, they are left on the sidewalks. That's been a major problem in other cities. It also raises another issue here, if these all-Electric scooters are even technically allowed.

"You can't ride a gasoline-powered scooter on the sidewalk but can you ride one of these on a sidewalk, not so sure. We (the city) have to figure that out," Altmann said.

Altmann admits he's happy to have another way to get around, but these birds flew in without warning.

"It would have been better if we had a heads up," he told FOX 47. " We could have gotten everybody going the way we wanted them to be going from the start. So, we're playing catch-up a little bit the company put us in that position but I hope in the next few weeks we'll be able to think about it a little more."

They, however, do not appear to be ruffling any student's feathers.

"I think it's more convenient for us if anything," another student said.

Altmann said it boils down to safety.

"I want people to be able to get around easily and safely. That's the goal. And to have as many options as they can, but people also need to be safe and they need to be respectful."

The Capital Area Transportation Authority is reminding people to keep scooters away from bus stops so that sidewalks remain accessible for everyone.

In a statement, Bird said, "We are partnering with the University to educate riders on the proper way to ride and park Birds on campus. We look forward to continuing our work with the school to build a framework that supports safe, affordable, and accessible transportation options for everyone in the community."

You can learn more about the scooters online.