Electric scooter startup wants to make it legal to ride scooters on the sidewalk

San Francisco city attorney sent a cease-and-desist order to all three companies, demanding they take stronger measures to keep riders off of the sidewalks -- now Bird's fighting back.


April 23, 2018

It’s been a little over three weeks since Bird, LimeBike, and Spin unleashed hundreds of adult scooters on the city of San Francisco, and already the SF scooter frenzy is underway.

But, a week later authorities started impounding them, and on April 16, the San Francisco city attorney sent a cease-and-desist order to all three companies, demanding they stop operations, and take stronger measures to keep riders off of the sidewalks.

But, instead of collaborating, Bird’s founder aims to bypass

The company founded by former Uber and Lyft executive Travis VanderZanden, is pushing legislation that would answer the city’s concerns by… not answering them at all.

His plan: convince them to see it his way by making it legal to ride electric scooters on sidewalks.

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The bill aims to define “stand up electric scooters” as a vehicle powered by electric motors of less than 750 watts, with a speed cap of 20 mph (Bird’s scooters max out at 15 mph).

Straight from Uber’s playbook

The bill also states that only the “minor operator” of a scooter would be required to wear a helmet, meaning adults could stay fresh while vibing at a hard 13 mph on the ped-crowded sidewalks.

As Quartz notes, Uber — where VanderZanden cut his teeth — was the king of pushing through laws that sidestep the early sanctions placed on them, which is arguably pertinent to creating rules for a fresh industry, and they’ve turned out ok.

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