A Cincinnati council member said Wednesday any agreement between the city and Bird, the electric scooter company that launched here recently, should include language for the company to cover damages suffered by victims of misuse of the motorized scooters.
David Mann said from his personal observations, a large number of the scooters "are being used in violation of the basic guidelines – on sidewalks, in pedestrian crosswalks or violating traffic signals."
"Bird is a profit-making activity which has landed here for one purpose: to make money for someone," Mann wrote in a statement attached to his motion. "Profit is fine but the damage inflicted by any enterprise must be assumed by the business, not an innocent public."
Mann wrote the company has agreed to hold the city harmless for acts of the company. But he said that's not enough to protect innocent citizens who could be injured by people using the scooters.
A Cleveland woman died earlier this month when she was hit by a car while using a scooter.
The scooter, which travels up to 15 miles per hour, cost $1 per ride and 15 cents each minute. It's locked and unlocked via a smartphone app.
In an e-mailed statement to WVXU, the company said safety is its top priority.
"The well-being of our riders is something we protect through concrete action, including: throttling the speed to a 15 mph maximum, requiring riders to upload a driver’s license and confirm they are 18 or older, providing an in-app tutorial on how to ride a Bird and how to park it, and posting clear safety instructions on each Bird," a company spokesperson said in the statement.
Some cities such as Austin, Louisville and Nashville have banned the electric scooters, though Austin and Louisville have since welcomed them back. Indianapolis, Columbus and some other cities have passed ordinances regulating Bird and other scooters.