Would you believe Bird scooters and their shareable, electronic counterparts have been operating in Atlanta for less than a year?
While it may seem the whirring two-wheelers have been providing alternate mobility means (and littering city sidewalks) for ages, Birds only made their mark on Atlanta about six months ago.
Atlanta winters don’t exactly prohibit outdoor activity, but it appears Bird and its competitors will hardly be migrating away anytime soon. In fact, observers in the know—and the obvious popularity of ubiquitous two-wheel transport in Atlanta—suggest scooter culture is here to stay.
According to a panel discussion held recently by Bisnow Atlanta, the rentable vehicles—the first of many shareable motorized options to hit intown curbs—could become a more integral part of life in Atlanta and other traffic-clogged cities as time moves on.
Jeff Berman, partner with the venture capital firm Camber Creek, said an electric scooter he bought allows him to circumvent New York City automobile congestion.
Berman can now cruise 10 blocks in around 10 minutes—a stark contrast to the 45 minutes he says it sometimes takes by car, according to Bisnow.
Patrick Braswell, the CEO of Atlanta-based commercial real estate brokerage Transcend, backed up Berman at the panel discussion, saying electric scooters are “the answer to the traffic problems.”
Nevertheless, even Braswell agrees the vehicles can be a nuisance. He opined at the Bisnow event that Atlanta needs to find a way to manage the mass influx of shareable scooters—just like governments did (sort of) for cars.
This summer, the Atlanta City Council teased the idea of regulating scooters and other shareable vehicles, thanks in part to people who abuse the rides by leaving them in public rights of way, break them, or (sigh) travel on them in improper places.
The Atlanta effort to create a Bird law—or regulations to curb misuse of shareable, personal vehicles—has yet to bear fruit.
Additionally, the City of Brookhaven is mulling how to crack down on shareable scooter and bike misbehavior, according to Reporter Newspapers. (The city has impounded more than a dozen scooters for being parked in places that impede pedestrian traffic.)
Brookhaven City Planner Allison Stocklin said creating no-fly zones, as Atlanta has, could help curb scooter malfeasance.
Bird representatives told the publication they’re working with cities to teach users the best practices for their products.
Bird recently announced a new scooter-delivery service, although it’s still unclear whether Atlanta will be a part of the program.