Bird Scooters to cease operations while city considers regulation, safety

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Joining another company in the same business, Bird Scooters said Thursday they would pause operations in Indianapolis while the city discusses safety and a possible ordinance governing use.

A company spokesperson released the following statement late Thursday afternoon:

"We are glad to be working with Indianapolis to build a framework that permits affordable transportation options that help the city reach its goals of getting cars off the road and reducing emissions. While this work is underway, we have agreed to remove our scooters from the streets of Indianapolis and started removing vehicles on Wednesday, 7/11. We hope the ordinance and its resulting permit process is completed as soon as possible so we can get back to helping people easily get around Indianapolis."

A man's recent scooter-related injury added to questions about safety for the vehicles that have become popular in Indianapolis over the past couple of weeks.

Ty Kutan told Eyewitness News he had to try an electric scooter. He said they seemed fun. He ended up riding Lime and Bird scooters quite a bit.

"They are fun," Kutan said, "until you face plant off one!"

He says a recent ride on a Bird scooter ended with severe injuries to his face. He says he hit a small pothole in a puddle near 22nd and Meridian while going 15 miles an hour.

"A broken orbital bone and a cut here that needed five stitches, 12 total," Kutan said. "I was not wearing a helmet."

Bird encourages riders to wear helmets.

On the app, the company offers to send people a free helmet if they pay shipping and handling. But it says they can only get a free helmet after they ride the scooter at least once. The company has no way to verify people actually wear helmets.

Take a look downtown and it appears most riders don't.

Two scooter companies, Bird and Lime, received cease-and-desist letters last week from the city of Indianapolis. Indy requested both companies suspend service while city-county councilors consider new rules about safety.

Lime pulled its scooters last week.

The City-County Council has been talking about regulating scooter companies with a proposed ordinance.

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