Electric scooters drawing mixed reactions in St. Joe

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ST. JOSEPH, Mi. -- The electric scooters from Bird Rides finally swooped down into St. Joe over Memorial Day weekend, just in time for the Senior PGA Tournament. 

Despite initial excitement for the e-scooters, the reception has been somewhat mixed. 

Some people are concerned about their safety-- as riders use them on crowded sidewalks. One man, who works in a downtown shop, said he thought they were a good idea in theory. Now, he's worried riders-- specifically tourists from out of town-- may start to misuse them and possibly even throw them into the river. 

Others worry they could become eye sores. 

“I’m okay with them until you start seeing them on the side of the road, and if they’ve hit the curb of something and people just dump them and walk away, that’s definitely not good," said Nancy Mack, a visitor from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Even so, she and other visitors to the town have stayed optimistic.

Mack is familiar with the e-scooters coming into cities, having seen them in Fort Wayne; she said it just takes a little time to work out the kinks.

“They did have some problems, but since then, and I’ve been downtown quite a bit, I have not seen them blocking the streets," she said. "People, when they’re done with them have been pulling them to the side and keeping the sidewalks clear.”

Winnie Hansun, who's staying in town for the Summer, believes that riders and pedestrians will learn to coexist. 

“At all ages, you want to be really careful with that, and as someone who rode bikes a lot back from where I’m from, it can be really difficult to get around some older people or some younger people who don’t really know where to go yet, so I think just using the road that’s already there is a great alternative," Hansun said.

Bird Rides released this statement:

“Bird and the City of St. Joseph have teamed up to provide residents with a new, eco-friendly mode of transportation. Since the program launched two weeks ago, residents have embraced our e-scooters with more than one thousand miles ridden to date. Providing communities like St. Joseph with a fun and sustainable transportation option is core to our mission of reducing reliance on gas-powered vehicles.”

In partnership with the city, Bird Rides has also designated some areas to be "slow zones" and "no ride zones," near the piers and other areas with a lot of foot traffic.

St. Joe residents can contact Bird Rides with their concerns by using Community Mode in the Bird app (required for using the e-scooters) or by emailing stjoseph311@bird.co.


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