Bird continues scooter operations despite request from Indianapolis officials

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- An electric scooter company is responding one day after officials with The City of Indianapolis sent a letter asking them to suspend operations downtown.

On Tuesday, Department of Business and Neighborhood Services Interim Director Brian Madison sent a letter to Bird asking them to suspend operations for 30 days. In the letter, the City cites "a number of public safety, legal, and regulatory concerns about the scooters."

Representatives with Bird said they have received the letter from the city and are reviewing it.

In a statement, the company spokesman Kenneth Baer wrote:

"Indianapolis is a growing, dynamic city interested in new ways for people to get around without creating congestion and carbon emissions. These goals are complementary to Bird's mission. Following Bird's availability in the city, people have rapidly adopted e-scooters as a new and accessible form of transportation. We look forward to continuing to serve our new Indy riders as we work with city leaders to create a regulatory framework that works best for the people of Indianapolis and helps them meet their goals."

On Wednesday afternoon, downtown was buzzing with Hoosiers enjoying the new scooter system. Many said the scooters aren't any more dangerous than bikes. When a rider signs up to ride the scooter, they must follow instructions such as wearing a helmet and riding in a designated bike lane.

One resident who is in a wheelchair said he was hit twice by people riding the scooters recklessly.

"I was crossing the street. I had the walk signal, and somebody on one of the scooters comes screaming around the corner and run into the side of my chair," said Darren Laughlin.

City leaders initially drafted an ordinance in April that would have banned all electric scooters, but it has been put on hold.

"We have been working with the City-County Council, businesses, and neighborhoods to establish guidelines that will ensure the safety, accessibility and vibrancy of downtown Indianapolis and surrounding neighborhoods," said City of Indianapolis Communications Director Brandi Pahl.

She said a copy of the new ordinance should be available by the end of the week.