BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — Electric scooter rentals are now the newest form of transportation in Battle Creek.
The city recently announced a fleet of 40 Bird scooters are available for use with 25 placed throughout the city on a given day.
Enrique Rodriguez, the co-owner of the 32 Social coffee shop, has been trying them out with staff members and customers.
“They’re pretty fun, they’re pretty easy, pretty user friendly,” Rodriguez said.
He says some customers have had concerns about rental scooters being allowed in the city.
“They might feel like it might become a problem, but (the) majority of people that we talk to … they love it,” Rodriguez said.
Riders must download the Bird electric scooter sharing app and scan a QR code to activate it.
The app tells riders to wear a helmet and says they must be 18 years old to operate the scooters and follow all local traffic laws.
Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing says the city researched best practices in an attempt to reduce potential hazards the scooters have posed in other cities.
The city of Battle Creek does not own the scooters but has put in place an ordinance to regulate their use.
“I do think having this type of an amenity in your community does project some vibrancy particularly in some of the denser areas like the downtown,” Dearing said.
The scooter can be an activity for riders but also a new transportation option.
“It’s a great mobility option, so if a car maybe isn’t practical and you still need to get from point A to B, or public transportation doesn’t make sense, scooters could actually be a pretty good viable alternative,” Dearing said.
With new residential and other development projects working to grow the downtown, the hope is the scooters can provide a new amenity to draw people in.
“It’s a great step. It’s a great way to incentivize people to get out and about, get downtown,” Rodriguez said.