bird scooters, electric scooters
Bird scooters, seen here on a sidewalk in San Jose, California, have been popping up in cities across the country. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

After Bird scooters popped up unannounced in Cambridge and Somerville, Cambridge officials have sent a letter to Bird executives saying that the city will not allow Bird scooters on its streets without proper authorization, but that the city looks forward to an upcoming meeting with the electric scooter company. 

 

Bird scooters landed in Cambridge on Friday, the company confirmed, but Cambridge officials say they were not given prior notice that the dockless electric scooters would be deployed in the city.

 

“I am advised that you do not have the authorizations or permission required to operate such a system in Cambridge, nor have you requested any such required authorizations or permissions from the city,” Cambridge City Manager Louis A. DePasquale wrote in the letter to Bird, which was sent on Tuesday.

 

“The City will not permit Bird’s electric scooters to be parked and used on City−owned streets, sidewalks, and other public property without all required authorizations and permissions having first been obtained,” the letter continues.

 

Will Bird scooters stay in Cambridge?

bird scooters | cambridge

 

When asked previously about launching Bird scooters without first notifying the city, a Bird spokesperson said in an email that they reached out and “look forward to working closely with local leaders and officials to develop a framework that permits affordable and convenient transportation options."

“The cities of Cambridge and Somerville share Bird’s vision of building communities with fewer cars, less traffic, and reduced carbon emissions," the spokesperson added.

DePasquale agreed, writing in the letter that Cambridge is "a leader in mobility options that reduce dependence on private automobiles.” He also noted that Cambridge already has existing traffic regulations pertaining to motorized scooters.

Those regulations require that every scooter rider wear protective headgear (the company says that it provides a helmet if the Bird scooter rider asks, though they need to pay for shipping); that the electronic scooter must have a braking system that allows it, when traveling 15 mph (a speed Bird scooters can reach), to stop within 30 feet; and that the rider must not operate the motorized scooter “in a careless, reckless or negligent manner so as to endanger the life, safety of any person or the property of any other person.”

The letter was addressed to Ashwini Chhabra, Global Head of Central Policy at Bird. A Cambridge spokesperson said that the city will meet with Bird on Monday. Bird did not immediately respond to a request for comment.