July 10, 2018 06:11 PM
Those may have noticed a new way to get around the Twin Cities Tuesday-- low-power electric scooters for rent.
The roll-out came just hours before a Minneapolis City Council committee passed an ordinance amendment requiring scooter sharing networks to be licensed by the city and follow rules for parking in the right of way.
"I think our existing ordinances are adequate to control it, and our new ordinances will really put a better frame around it," Minneapolis Public Works Director of Traffic and Parking Services Jon Wertjes said after the vote.
Tuesday's rollout caught some by surprise.
"When I seen the scooter on the corner not locked up, I had to go over there and investigate, man," downtown Minneapolis security guard Jeovani Wilder said.
The scooters are from a company called Bird, which is already in more than a dozen cities across the country. They're somewhat similar to Nice Ride's, except there's nowhere to dock them. Riders pretty much leave the scooters wherever they want.
"I just figured I'd try it out," said Maxwell Galindo, who demonstrated how they work while on his way to the University of Minnesota.
The scooters are available through the Bird app. They cost $1 to start plus $0.15 cents per minute thereafter. The scooters go a maximum of 15 miles per hour and are meant to be ridden in bike lanes and on the street, not on the sidewalk.
"You're supposed to wear a helmet," Galindo explained, "but I don't know how exactly they expect people to just have helmets on them."
Galindo also said he had to enter a lot of information to get the scooter, like his credit card info and even his drivers license, although he added, the scooter wasn't hard to find.
A quick look at Bird's app showed dozens of scooters available for rent, now available across downtown and north Minneapolis, as well as downtown and Frogtown in St. Paul.
A Bird spokesperson added that they'll adjust the number of scooters and areas they're available based on rider demand.
Meanwhile, the full Minneapolis City Council is expected to vote on their ordinance amendment on Friday, July 20.
Updated: July 10, 2018 06:11 PM
Created: July 10, 2018 03:25 PM
Copyright 2018 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company