The City of Cincinnati's Department of Transportation today issued its preliminary guidelines for the use of electronic scooters after a flock of the rentable vehicles from the company Bird Rides descended on the city unannounced earlier this month.These are just interim guidelines; DOT will assess their effectiveness and make permanent policy recommendations to Cincinnati City Council next year.
In the meantime, here's how to follow the rules when you ride your Bird:
• No sidewalks! But bike paths are cool. Per the city: "Riding small vehicles is prohibited on pedestrian sidewalks but permissible on multi-use (bike/pedestrian) paths. Riders must obey all traffic laws and are strongly encouraged to wear helmets."
• Do not bring a budy or a date: Birds aren't like the BMX bike you had when you were a kid, and you can't give your crush a ride on your pegs. There are no pegs. One person per scooter, please.
• Don't get in peoples' way with the dang things. Park them upright and out of the way of the normal flow of pedestrians. Per the city: "E-scooters may be parked on the sidewalk, but only in locations that do not impede the normal flow of pedestrian traffic, including access to and travel upon the sidewalk area by persons with restricted mobility such as wheelchair users."
Don't block the following:
— Bus stops
— Loading zones
— Accessible Parking Zones
— Curb ramps
— Greenways and trails
— Red Bike stations, because that's just passive aggressive
In addition to those rules, app-based rental services like Bird must stipulate the following rules on their apps when operating in Cincinnati:
• Wear a helmet
• Don't ride on the sidewalk
• Obey traffic laws
The regulations come after Bird has caused a fair amount of controversy in other cities over users' less-than-stellar sidewalk etiquette and other issues, as we explored in-depth in our story here.