It's a Bird...It's a Scooter...It's legal?

In a change of tune, the Metro Council has passed new laws allowing the scooters to once again fly the streets of Nashville… but with very specific rules under a “pilot program.”

bird scooter

Recently we discussed sudden sightings of “birds of a different feather” flying into town. It did not take Metro Nashville long to ban motorized scooters, sighting safety concerns, such as scooters left on sidewalks, pedestrian safety, and traffic congestion. 

changing their tune

However, in a change of tune, the Metro Council passed new laws allowing the scooters to once again fly the streets of Nashville… but with very specific rules under a “pilot program.”

Metro Council members even termed the vehicles for us under this new program. Birds and species of the like will be Shared Urban Mobility Devices (or SUMDs).

Who do these new regulations effect?

However, Bird isn’t the only operator in downtown Nashville. Rival companies Lime and Zagster are also dropping SUMDs on the street.

Regardless of the name, these companies and any others must apply for an operator permit similar to other transportation services. Like pedal taverns and golf-carts, Metro Council’s Transportation Licensing Commission will handle these applications as well. 

Under the pilot program, each company can operate 1000 “motorized” scooters at one time. However, the flock must grow over time with 500 the first month, 750 the second month, and so on. That’s a lot of Birds. 

New Rules for riders

  • Among the potentially annoying requirements in the law, riders must alert pedestrians via audible signal.
  • Bird scooters and other SUMDs cannot operate on a sidewalk within a business district.
  • Additionally, if a scooter or bike is on a public right-of-way (think: sidewalk), the company might be fined $25. It’s unknown if companies tack this fine to the rider or not. 

Moreover, it is important to note that non-motorized scooters are not among the new regulations (according to BL 2018-1203.) 

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