Image via Flickr user Phillip Pesar.
Written by The Business Journal Staff
The City of Fresno has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Bird Rides Inc., and given them until Sunday to remove all of their scooters from the city until an operating policy and a business agreement can be reached.
Bird, a Santa Monica-based company that provides dockless electric motorized scooters for public use, did not officially approach city officials to get the proper permissions and licenses, establish a public policy, and create a framework that ensures proper safety and access measures prior to establishing operations in Fresno, according to a press release from the city.
The city issued the cease-and-desist order on Aug. 29, and has had ongoing discussions with Bird to resolve the issue.
“If you want to use the public right-of-way, you have to operate in the public interest,” said Jim Schaad, assistant city manager.
Bird has been accused of using similar “ask forgiveness instead of permission” tactics in other cities, with places like San Diego, Boston, Nashville and Kansas City issuing orders of their own or planning restrictions.
The City of Fresno has received numerous disability complaints and heard growing concerns about people using scooters without helmets or riding on sidewalks in violation of state law. Users have also been accused of leaving the scooters on lawns or blocking sidewalks and entryways.
Contrary to claims made by Bird to local users in a social media campaign this week stating that Fresno is considering a ban on scooters, Fresno officials have reportedly expressed to Bird representatives that the Administration is willing to work with them so they can operate safely and profitably in Fresno.
“We want to be business friendly— but friendliness goes both ways,” said Mayor Lee Brand. “We will continue to embrace different forms of transportation, but not at the expense of safety or public process.”
City officials have a meeting scheduled with Bird representatives early next week to discuss paramaters for entering into a business agreement.