The scooters are out, and apparently they are getting utilized.
A few weeks ago, the city of Emporia finalized a partnership with Bird Rides to bring a “flock” of around 100 scooters to town. The scooters were made available last weekend.
City officials, including Police Chief Ed Owens, worked with Bird on a game plan and they worked amongst themselves to adjust city code. The main change, as Owens mentioned on KVOE’s Newsmaker segment Friday, dealt with using scooters, bikes and skateboards on sidewalks.
Also, scooters cannot be used on major highways unless riders are using a crosswalk to cross the street. Scooters can’t be parked on public streets if they interfere with other vehicles.
Assistant City Manager Lane Massey said there have been over 700 rides logged this week. Most of the rides have been in downtown Emporia, but use has already gone citywide. Mayor Rob Gilligan says Bird Rides approached Emporia city commissioners earlier this year as part of an expansion across the Midwest and Central Plains.
Massey says it’s the latest component of a broader look at transportation locally.
The city’s partnership with Bird is different from one the city developed with Healthier Lyon County for bicycles. Both use a special app to start the process, but the bikes have several hub locations around town while the scooters do not. The scooter app to use is Bird Rides and is available for both Apple and Android phones.