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Bird scooters invade Greater Lafayette

Electric scooters have been invading cities across the country in the past few months, and now they have come to Greater Lafayette.

Posted: Sep 9, 2018 5:13 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2018 1:44 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Electric scooters have been invading cities across the country in the past few months, and now they have come to Greater Lafayette.

The company Bird dropped off their scooters on Friday. West Lafayette city officials were unaware that Bird planned to bring their business to the area. Maps shared with us by viewer Dave Kovich indicate that many of the scooters then made their way into the Lafayette area within a few hours. 

West Lafayette city leaders then announced the company had until 2 p.m. on Saturday to remove the scooters, or else they would be considered abandoned property and would be impounded by police.

As of Sunday, it appears West Lafayette Police have confiscated about 30 scooters. In Lafayette, Bird scooters were still parked on sidewalks as of Sunday morning, including on the courthouse square.

West Lafayette Development Director Erik Carlson says the scooters create problems with following Federal ADA Accessibility laws. 

"We are a community that strives to exceed federal ADA requirements," he said. "We saw immediately that scooters were put out by the contractors of Bird in ways that if someone was coming by in a wheelchair they couldn't pass anymore."

He said the city is in favor of alternative transportation options like the scooters and hopes to bring them back.

"We've asked them to temporarily stop operations and work with us on rule and regulations in place that would bring something like this back," he said.

He said even though their business model tends to follow the saying "better to ask for forgiveness than permission," he wishes the company would have come to city leaders. Saying they would have found a welcoming and cooperative response.

He also emphasized that it is illegal to ride these scooters on sidewalks, urging those using the scooters to ride in bike lanes and the right-hand-side of roadways.

He said the scooters have been on the radar of the city ever since the scooters came to Indianapolis, it was just a matter of time before they made their way to the Greater Lafayette area. 

Leadership from both sides of the river will continue to work to create one over-arching plan for re-implementing the scooters in the future.

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