Update on status of BIRD e-scooters in Asheville (12 p.m. Saturday, October 27)
On October 27, 2018, at 11:00 AM, the Honorable Judge Alan Z. Thornburg issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining Bird Rides, Inc. (“Bird”) from operating its scooter sharing/rental business within the corporate limits of the City of Asheville. Pursuant to the Order, Bird is required to cease its operations in the City, and remove its scooters from City streets and sidewalks, by no later than 8:00 AM on October 28, 2018. If Bird’s scooters remain deployed within the City after 8:00 AM on October 28, 2018 PM, they will be subject to removal by the City of Asheville’s Public Works department.
Bird initially deployed their scooters on October 25, 2018, without providing notice to City staff or officials of its intention to begin operations in the City of Asheville. Bird’s business model, which relies on parking scooters on City sidewalks and offering them for use through a web-based application, violates several sections of the City’s Code of Ordinances. The City notified Bird that its operations violated its ordinances on October 25, 2018, and Bird initially agreed to remove its scooters from the City of Asheville.
Because Bird has, as of October 27, 2018, elected to redeploy its scooters in violation of the Asheville City Code, the City was forced to obtain injunctive relief directing that Bird cease its operations and remove its scooters from City property. The Order in no way prohibits Bird from seeking City approval of its business at a later date.
The City would discourage the use of these vehicles as they are not lawfully allowed at this time.
Early Thursday morning, October 25, the City of Asheville learned that e-scooters by BIRD, the scooter company, were being dropped off at various locations in and around Asheville. E-scooter programs allow users to rent an e-scooter through a smart-phone application and park it when their ride ends.
“E-Scooters are a new trend in transportation, however City of Asheville ordinances do not currently allow them to be legally driven or parked on public sidewalks in Asheville.” Jessica Morriss, Assistant Director of Transportation said. “The City has been working on a bike-share study with the community and recently determined that e-scooters should be incorporated into the study, which is expected to be completed in January 2019.”
Existing City regulations and ordinances addressing proper vehicle use and use of sidewalks do not allow motorized transportation to be used on sidewalks, and the city does not have a network of connected bike lanes adequate for e-scooters to use safely. Because of this, Bird’s e-scooters are being collected and stored in the Public Works building until the company can collect them.