The Normandy Park City Council at their June 14, 2022 meeting voted to approve a pilot program with Bird LLC to make electric scooters available for residents to rent and ride throughout the city.
This will be the first scooter rental program in the south end, with White Center offering one by Spin.
“We always want to explore alternatives to the car to move around within our communities,” the city said. “One of these alternatives is the concept of micro-mobility, most currently realized through electric scooters.”
Bird will launch and operate the program at no cost to the city, and the trial will last up to two years long.
While a specific starting date has not yet been announced, the city will be able to terminate the agreement at any time without any issues.
The program is intended to find “an energy-efficient and affordable alternative for trips” within Normandy Park, and will be restricted to riders aged 18 or older.
Renting a Bird scooter will cost riders a $1 unlock fee, plus a per-minute fee. Billing will all be done through the Bird smartphone app with a credit or debit card.
Scooters will be able to reach speeds up to 15mph, which aligns with the speed of casual bikers. Bird says it has the ability to create slow speed zones as well as adjust the speed.
“The purpose of a pilot operating agreement is to establish interim rules and regulations governing the operation of a stand-up electric scooter sharing system, and to ensure that a pilot program is consistent with the safety and well-being of bicyclists, pedestrians, and other users of the City’s rights-of-way,” the city said in the meeting packet.
The Transportation Element of the Normandy Park Comprehensive Plan seeks to promote alternate modes of travel, such as electric vehicles, cycling and walking, and supports consideration of grants, public/private partnerships and other means for funding such projects.
“These consistency, safety, and use of rights-of-way factors are regulated in the RCW. The RCW is careful to separately—in great detail—define and regulate the use of vehicles, motor vehicles, bicycles, motor-driven cycles, mopeds, electric-assisted bicycles, motorcycles, motorized foot scooters, and power wheelchairs or other electric personal assistive mobility devices (known as EPAMD.)”
Bird will work with the city to create the initial operating area that will align with the city’s goals of ridership and access to alternative transportation.
“Birds will only operate in this area and will slow to a stop outside of it,” the company said. “The city can also highlight any specific areas with parking rules, slow speeds or no riding.”
This pilot program will utilize a dockless model, which means riders can park the scooters wherever they would like within the operating area.
“We educate riders where and how to park: at a bike rack when available, and not blocking the right-of-way, sidewalks, ADA ramps, or driveways,” Bird said. “At the end of each Bird ride, riders will be promoted to take a picture of the parked scooter as proof.”
In case of “scooter clutter,” local Fleet Managers will be responsible for rebalancing and moving vehicles throughout the city during operating hours.
The company currently works with over 350 communities for similar programs.
In regard to motorized foot scooters (the type that Bird is offering in the pilot program) the RCW was amended most recently by ESHB 1772 (2019), which did the following:
- Amended the definition of motorized foot scooter in RCW 46.04.336
- Further defined where motorized foot scooters may operate RCW 46.61.710
- Created a new section defining how local authority may regulate motorized foot scooters and shared scooters including contracts offered by scooter share programs to scooter share contractors RCW 46.61.715..
More info on Bird LLC is available here: https://www.bird.co.