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Alhambra bans Bird scooters … for now

Photo by Flickr user Tim Evanson licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


Alhambra , CA United States

On Nov. 17, 2018, Tony Vieyra posted on Nextdoor about Bird scooters showing up “all over Alhambra.” Other residents expressed curiosity about trying them out in response.

Less than a month later, on Dec. 10, the Alhambra City Council banned Bird scooters and other transportation devices that users can find and activate through smartphone apps.

“About a week-and-a-half ago, we had a bunch of Bird scooters show up and were deposited in the city, all in locations where they legally can’t be used,” said City Attorney Joseph Montes at the Nov. 26 Alhambra City Council meeting, citing existing ordinances that ban the use of electric scooters in areas where the speed limit exceeds 25 miles an hour and on sidewalks. He added that many users were underage and were operating Bird scooters without helmets.

Alhambra City Council members Stephen Sham and Jeff Maloney said that they supported a ban until the city could work with Bird and other companies on safety regulations. “This gives us some time to look and see their proposal and see other cities, how they handle it,” Sham said.

Montes said that Bird sent the city a letter offering to work with staff in bringing scooters to Alhambra. The company included a model ordinance in the letter. Other cities like Los Angeles and Santa Monica have passed ordinances establishing permitting processes and other rules to safely introduce these devices into their neighborhoods.

Karsen Luthi, an Alhambra resident and local business owner who expressed curiosity about Bird on Nextdoor, said that the city made the right decision for now. He expressed concern in an email that people would ride scooters on the sidewalk and endanger pedestrians. “Since I spend a lot of time in the area due to my son’s business location I often walk around and have been hit once by a bicyclist and once by a skateboarder who both came up behind me,” he said.

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