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Bird wants to offer stand-up scooters downtown

In addition to sidewalk dining and its signature bears, the city of Hendersonville may soon see rental scooters zipping along its serpentine Main Street.


The Hendersonville City Council will hear a proposal tonight from Bird, one of the national electric scooter companies that operate the rentals in cities. Calling itself a "last-mile electric vehicle sharing company," Bird is seeking permission to offer the battery-powered scooters in Hendersonville.

In a 14-page illustrated explainer on the company and its benefits, Bird says the standup scooters offer a "no cost microbility" solution, reduce emissions, reduces the need for parking and provides better access to downtown businesses. In starting up in a new city, Bird says it creates a plan based on the city's input, then introduces the scooters and supports the agreement with company managers.

Using the Bird smartphone app, riders would locate the closest scooter on a map, unlock it, complete a safety tutorial, pay $1 to start and then a per-minute fee. The 44-pound vehicles have drum brakes, front and back LED lights and digital display of speed and battery-level.

The backup for the council's consideration includes a model ordinance from the city of Gastonia on regulation of so-called shared active transportation systems. Besides Gastonia, comparable size cities that have recently welcomed Bird include Morehead, Kentucky, and Pittsburg, Kansas.