Could Eagle be next in the shareable electric scooter trend?
Eagle Town Council members express hesitation around proposal to bring rental electric scooters to town
An initial proposal heard at Tuesday’s Eagle Town Council meeting could make Eagle the next in a growing list of locations where residents can zip around on shareable electric scooters with the touch of a smartphone.
Eagle Town Council members directed staff to do more research into the idea of bringing pay-to-rent electric scooters to town, but some members expressed concerns around safety and upkeep.
“I struggle with (the idea),” Mayor Scott Turnipseed said in the meeting. “I think it’s going to be a burden on staff.”
The Town Council heard a presentation Tuesday night from Bird, one of multiple companies that offer E-scooters that can be rented through a smartphone application.
A representative of Bird sold the scooters as an affordable, environmentally-friendly transit alternative already in use in 150 cities worldwide and said they hope to add Eagle to this list as soon as this summer.
“Our mission is to help make cities more livable and to bring communities together and provide a solution for folks to get around town … ,” Kate Shoemaker said in her presentation.
If the idea is ultimately approved, the company would bring 50 electric scooters to Eagle, which would be kept at various “nest” locations around town.
The “dockless” scooters can be left at any safe location, giving riders total flexibility in where they can go, Shoemaker said.
Users simply need to download the Bird app on their smartphones to find a Bird scooter nearest them, scan the QR code, watch a safety tutorial and hop on, she said.
Riders pay an initial fee of one dollar to unlock the scooters followed by a per minute fee, and the company offers discounts for veterans, active military personnel and low-income individuals, Shoemaker said.
Residents must be 18 years or older to scoot around town, she said.
Town Council members expressed concerns Tuesday about pedestrian safety and how riders would be regarded when it comes to traffic laws.
The scooters travel at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour, which Shoemaker said is standard among E-scooter companies across the United States.
Riders are required to follow the same “rules of the road” that bicyclists do, meaning they would be directed to use bike lanes and roadways rather than sidewalks, she said.
Town Council member Matt Solomon expressed concerns about the dockless scooters being left anywhere and everywhere.
If the idea moved forward, Bird would hire a local “fleet manager,” who would be responsible for repairing and recharging scooters as well as returning them to their home locations, Schoemaker said.
“We are very aware of concerns of clutter in smaller towns,” she said.
At the end of Tuesday’s discussion, the council directed staff to look into the idea further and come back with more information as to what such an undertaking would look like.
Brandy Reitter, Eagle’s town manager, said staff would come back before the council in a few months with a contract and a more specific proposal.
The craze around E-scooters and E-bikes as the newest frontier in public transit hit the United States around five years ago with the establishment of companies like Bird, Shoemaker said.
The streets of Denver filled with scooters in May of 2018 to the chagrin of some in the public works department, who also expressed concerns about safety.
Fort Collins partnered with Bird to bring E-scooters to the city in October of 2019.
Email Kelli Duncan at email@example.com