OKC City Council Votes To Impound Bird Scooters Starting Monday

Tuesday, August 14th 2018, 6:00 pm
By: News 9

Tuesday, OKC City Council voted to impound the Bird electric scooters until the company files a permit.

The main issue with the scooters stems from the fact that they're parked and rented on public right-of-ways.

Bird is a company that allows people to rent electric scooters anywhere using their smartphones. But at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, members unanimously passed an ordinance that gives Bird until Monday to get the proper permits for its scooters, or they will be impounded.

“The city has a revocable permit process, that if you're going to put something out for rent on the city's right-of-way, it requires that you have a permit for it. And these do not have a permit,” said Laura Johnson, Assistant City Manager for City of Oklahoma City.

A public right-of-way is anything in between a building line and the street, meaning scooters are illegal on sidewalks.

“The ordinances regarding riding them in the street, a little bit more grey. And we do have some work to do on bringing specificity to that. But right now, I would say it's mostly advisable to ride them in a bike lane,” Johnson said.

On Monday, scooters not in a permitted area will be collected and the company will have to pay $100 an hour for collection of the scooters and $5 per day, per scooter for storage.

The City says there is no legal place to leave Bird scooters at this time. But they recommend parking them as close to the curb as possible.

“These scooters are not operating legally in Oklahoma City. I don't know if there's any prohibition against the user using them. It's the operator at its service,” Johnson said.

The City is trying to develop ordinances for other scooter or bike - sharing companies, but the process could take two to three months.

News 9 reached out to Bird, and is waiting for the company’s comment on Tuesday’s decision.