Bird scooters landed in Palm Springs. The scooter sharing company dropped off a fleet of electric scooters Thursday morning. However, by Friday morning, the City of Palm Springs ordered the company must cease and desist operations and remove all scooters within 24 hours.
In a press release, the city said, “If Bird Scooters fails to comply, the City Manager has been directed by Council to confiscate and store the scooters as expeditiously as possible under the City’s existing ordinances.”
Many residents were surprised to see dozens of electric scooters scattered across the downtown area. “This morning I was walking to get a protein shake, and I just saw them,” said Sharni Gaskins. “We were going to go for a hike, then we decided to Bird instead,” she added.
The Bird is an electric scooter sharing service in major cities like Los Angeles. According to the company’s website, its mission is to reduce car usage and traffic.
The City of Palm Springs is not on board with having the service just yet. “This company came in with a major project with a lot of equipment, and they came in the middle of the night and they dumped it with no advanced warning, no requests, no discussion, nothing,” said Robert Moon, Mayor of Palm Springs.
The city already has municipal code 12.90.020 which says, “It is unlawful for any person riding on a skateboard, scooter, roller skate, coaster, toy vehicle, or similar device to go upon an open roadway in the city of Palm Springs, or upon the sidewalk.”
Mayor Moon said that means technically riding a Bird scooter in Palm Springs is not allowed, unless they make an exception. “The city council will discuss it publicly and then make a decision,” he explained.
Palm Springs resident Lexi Musick said she’s already seen how the scooters could be a safety hazard. “I seen people yesterday doing tricks like jumping with them, like 20 miles per hour jumping off the curb and sidewalk. It doesn’t seem safe,” she said.
Joy Meredith has been a business owner in Palm Springs for decades. Her main concern is that the scooters clutter the city. “Where will they leave them? Just any place? We just want to make sure that people are safe,” Meredith said.
But Gaskins hopes the city will allow the Bird scooters to stick around. “Keep them. It’s fun! It’s fun to ride, don’t you think?”
A spokesperson for Bird said the company hopes to come to an agreement with the city that makes everyone happy. In a statement, the company said, “Palm Springs is a forward-thinking city that shares our vision of getting cars off the road to reduce traffic and carbon emissions. Bird hopes to work closely with city officials to develop a framework that works for everyone so that the Palm Springs community can have access to our convenient and affordable transportation option. We are in touch with city officials and we look forward to meeting with them next week.”
According to Mayor Moon, the city will start impounding unmoved Bird scooters Saturday night.