Bird eyes expanding scooter service to Atlantic Beach

A presentation slide explains the features of the BirdZero electric scooter provided by Bird, a scooter-sharing service looking to expand to Atlantic Beach. (Contributed graphic)

ATLANTIC BEACH — A company is looking into bringing a new alternative mode of transportation to Atlantic Beach — electric scooters.

The Atlantic Beach Town Council met Thursday for its regular work session in the town hall meeting room on West Fort Macon Road. During the work session, the council received a presentation from Bird territory manager Chris Stockwell on the company’s service.

He said the the company is a shared scooter provider with a goal to help people travel short distances without cars.

“For Atlantic Beach specifically, I see it as an option for those coming down for the day or week and not having to worry about moving their cars,” he said.

The scooters are distributed throughout a given municipality and can be used by people who download a smartphone app. After watching a safety tutorial, customers pay $1 to start the scooter and then a per-minute fee for the ride.

While the council didn’t take any action on the proposal Thursday at the work session, it seemed open to the idea.

Mayor Trace Cooper asked about age limits for operators, to which Mr. Stockwell said a driver’s license is required to create an account to use the scooters.

“There’s a lot of back roads people could use if they want to use a scooter,” Mayor Cooper said.

Council members also voiced concern about keeping scooters from being ridden along Highway 58. There are already regulations in place restricting the use of low-speed vehicles, which are allowed only on town-maintained streets, but may cross Highway 58.

“Our tech lets us limit where our scooters can go,” Mr. Stockwell said.

According to the territory manager, Bird partners with a local businessperson in each city or town they provide service. This local partner is responsible for maintaining, distributing and charging the scooters.

“We have a whole suite of tools and technology to teach people and help people ride,” Mr. Stockwell said. “You’re a smaller city, but you have a lot of tourists.”

Bird already offers the scooter service in a number of areas across North Carolina, including Charlotte and the Triangle, according to its online service map.

In other news at Thursday’s work session, the council received an update on the ongoing project to convert the water treatment plant from chlorine to a chloramine system. Town water supervisor Leghe Gerald said staff has received a cost estimate of $163,000 from GMA Engineers for the project. Town manager David Walker said the town intends to pay for the project with American Rescue Plan funding.

The following also occurred during the work session:

  • Town planning and zoning director Michelle Eitner reviewed proposed unified development ordinance amendments to comply with N.C. General Statute 160D. The amendments will come before the council at its regular meeting Monday, June 28.
  • Police Chief Jeff Harvey reviewed proposed amendments to the town noise ordinance. These amendments will come before the council June 28, as well.

 

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

(11) comments

David Collins

While I am sure the sales person painted a rosy picture you had better do your homework on this one . These things can be quite dangerous and are often misused . Research why they were discontinued in the triangle area .

Booze and tourists go hand in hand and if you throw in a 2 wheel electric scooter , gosh , just what could go wrong ? Underage operators will gain access , by hook or by crook , and do the things that they are prone to do .

Your decision but think it out .

Dak

They also rely on local "gig economy" workers to run around at night picking them up to recharge and placing them back out on the streets. Given how few Uber/Lyft drivers we have, is there the desire in the local labor market to maintain these things?

ITBEME

And if they are anything like the company in Nashville, Tennessee whom ever rents a scooter can leave it anywhere they please. I'm guessing they have GPS so the company can retrieve them but in Nashville they are used as 1 way transportation. You will see them left in alleys, in front of stores or just laying down where ever they are left looking like trash.

DeadBolt

Sorry, they did away with the 'booze' long before they did away with actual 'free enterprise' in Atlantic Beach. What you see now is the servant government 'model' that is guaranteed to FAILURE. Its already schilling for quarters, i mean, common?????????[thumbdown]

drewski

Mostly young folks rent them, if a biz wants to take the financial risk, and it is not a safety or security concern. Let them.

No subsidies or enticements please.

mpjeep

From Golf Carts to Electric Scooters, what’s next, Mayor Cooper? Just what we need on the roads while careless drivers look around for their rental properties and taking their eyes off the road.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety researchers found that e-scooter riders sustained more injuries per mile than bicyclists and were twice as likely to be injured because of potholes, pavement cracks, lampposts, and signposts. Other issues are small unstable wheels, no mirrors or indicator lights.

“Electric scooters were to blame for at least 1,500 injuries and deaths in the U.S. last year”

drewski

Ahh what did twain say about statistics?

Fear mongering and quoting dire stats to sway opinion. In a country of 330 million how many were injured?

Even better here's a shocker Each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries (Tinsworth 2001).

Let's ban playgrounds as well shall we?

Speakeasy

Go to Instagram and lookup the account 'Scootersbehavingbadly'. This is what Atlantic Beach can expect if they allow it.

drewski

Likely there will be a few incidents, in what human activity is there not ? Need to run back to the rental slog along in 90 degree weather uphill in both directions on burning hot pavement with one torn flip flop dragging behind you, or leap on a scooter in a convenient stack and zip there and back.. 5 bucks each way.

hmmm what to do, what to do?

DeadBolt

Your not going to do a thing, it's a non starter. NADA, not allowed, sorry, shows over. You people are not qualified to think, and live without a government involved. [yawn]

David Collins

Having observed the walking paths a week ago ,walking paths full. Of moms pushing baby strollers two abreast , mixed in with bicycles dodging each other’, I can imagine the havoc that would be introduced with these devices . Come on , enough is enough . But , your decision . Promise there will be a lawyer handy to sort this out and he or they will not be standing on the top pf a truck . They will be up close , personal and in your pocket . Your decision . Yeah it could get ugly and wallet draining .

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