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Bird Electric Scooters Land In Cincinnati

bird scooter
Ann Thompson
/
WVXU
Greg Damico first saw Bird on a trip to San Diego. He likes that you can leave the scooter anywhere when you're finished with it.

Updated: 2:26 p.m.

Thursday Bird began testing its dock-free electric scooters in Cincinnati to the delight of many riders in Over-the-Rhine, Downtown and The Banks.

Greg Damico was checking one out in Pendleton Thursday morning. "I first saw them in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. I love them because you can jump on them wherever you find them and when you get off you leave them where you're at and just go."

The scooter, which travels up to 15 miles per hour, costs $1 per ride and 15 cents each minute. It is locked and unlocked via a smartphone app. 

The company says this is a pilot project in Cincinnati and it's still trying to determine the neighborhoods where people will ride them most.

"We are looking forward to testing our affordable, transportation option with the people and communities of Cincinnati, as they recognize the need for an accessible and reliable transit system," a company spokesperson says in an email to WVXU. 

Bird sees the scooters as "perfect for last-mile trips."

bird scooter
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
/
WVXU
Locking and unlocking a Bird scooter -- spotted outside the Freedom Center Thursday -- is done through an app on your phone.

Not everyone, though, is a fan. Reaction on Twitter was mixed, with one person saying he prefers to walk and another saying the scooters clutter sidewalks. The company hires people to collect the scooters and recharge them overnight.

Too, not all cities are embracing Bird. There have been complaints about injuries, lack of attention to traffic laws and people leaving the scooters in the middle of sidewalks. Louisville kicked the company out Friday.

In an emailed statement, the city told WVXU it learned of Bird's launch here Thursday morning. "Given that we just learned of the matter, we are still in the process of evaluating the possible impact on neighborhoods," the statement read. 

Here are some the cities that have banned these electric scooters:

  • Austin
  • Beverly Hills
  • Denver
  • Louisville
  • Nashville
  • San Fransisco

Indianapolis recently passed an ordinance regulating Bird and other scooters. Other cities have done the same. Bird says it is nogotiating with Louisville and hopes to be back there.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.