Palm Desert “Pumps the Breaks” on Electric Scooters

Daytona Everett

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The conversation about bird scooters is not over. A few weeks ago, hundreds of bird scooters landed in Palm Springs but they were quickly taken away. Now, Palm Desert is temporarily banning electric scooters all while Palm Springs is taking another look at bringing them back.

“We picked them up and we stored them and they’re going to be paying us the fee to collect them and to store them,” David Ready, City Manager of Palm Springs, said.

When Bird dropped off the shipment of scooters in Palm Springs in November, the city was not happy but that’s because they had no notice. Now, there’s a cordial conversation with the company and Palm Springs is easing into the idea of bringing them back. This time, they’re letting the public weigh in.

“I know that the city council is not necessarily opposed to it, they just want to make sure that it’s regulated,” Ready said. “The key component of that is getting input from the residents and business owners who are going to be affected most.”

If one city regulates the scooters, others might also be affected along the way, some Palm Desert residents said.

“Once it goes into one place, it’ll most likely wind up in others,” Chuck Middleton, an El Paseo shopper, said.

The scooters are easy to take from one place to the next including places like El Paseo in Palm Desert. The shopping center already allows golf carts.

After seeing the situation in Palm Springs, Palm Desert temporarily banned all mobility sharing devices with an ordinance until they develop regulations for them. Some argue the speedy devices would most likely be more popular in Palm Springs, anyway.

“I think Palm Springs kind of fits the mold a little bit more,” Gary Leibovitz, another El Paseo shopper, said.

That doesn’t mean they won’t make an appearance, so keep an eye out.

“No, you won’t see me on one, you’ll see me looking to make sure I don’t get run in to,” Middleton said.

Ready said the public meetings in late January and early February will cover rules concerning speed limit, Geo-fencing (the perimeters where scooters can go), parking requirements and more.

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