City asks Bird scooters to suspend operations in Indy for 30 days while they work out ordinances

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jun 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-20 14:00:11-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Just days after launching their sharable scooter service in Indianapolis, the city has asked Bird Rides, Inc. to suspend operations for 30 days while they address a number concerns. 

The scooters debuted in Indianapolis on Thursday. 

The scooters are available downtown, in Irvington and along Mass Ave. The company has said that it will expand its fleet to serve all of Indy as ridership grows.

Riders must be 18 years or older and stay in bike lanes where available. The riders are not allowed to ride on sidewalks. 

The city of Indianapolis' Business and Neighborhood Services sent a letter to the company on Tuesday, asking them to halt operations for 30 days after a city employee saw riders using the scooters on public sidewalks.

The city says the 30-day request is so they can address "public safety, legal and regulatory concerns" they say have been raised by "neighborhood groups, local business owners and the Office of Corporation Counsel."

READ | Bird scooters have landed in Indy

"While the City of Indianapolis continues to research how Bird’s business model fits within the existing Code and preserves its right to exercise all available rights and remedies under it, it is important to note that the City is in the process of establishing an ordinance that will directly address and regulate the operation of businesses such as Bird," the letter reads. 

An ordinance was introduced before the City-County Council's Public Works Committee back in April that would provide a regulatory framework for businesses and operations like Bird. 

The city says they hope to have that proposal before the full City-County Council by the July 16 meeting. 

"By voluntarily suspending operations in Indianapolis for 30 days, Bird will be able to ensure its full compliance with local regulations and avoid any enforcement actions," the letter reads. "... assuming passage on July 16, the City is prepared to be responsive to whatever rights Bird may possess under the new Code provisions."

A spokesman for Bird released the following statement on Wednesday:

 "Indianapolis is a growing, dynamic city interested in new ways for people to get around without creating congestion and carbon emissions. These goals are complementary to Bird's mission. Following Bird's availability in the city, people have rapidly adopted e-scooters as a new and accessible form of transportation. We look forward to continuing to serve our new Indy riders as we work with city leaders to create a regulatory framework that works best for the people of Indianapolis and helps them meet their goals." 

The company has faced similar pushback in several other cities across the country. 

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