Photo courtesy of Bird Rides Medford City Council has approved plans to offer scooter rentals in the city.

A company called Bird Rides Inc. will soon be launching a fleet of electric scooters for rent in Medford.

“People like to walk around on these things and have fun,” said Matt Brinkley, director of Medford Planning.

City council on Thursday night unanimously approved the development of a 12-month pilot operating agreement with Bird Rides, which operates in dozens of cities across the United States, including Portland.

Brinkley said scooters would provide another transportation option in Medford that could help cut emissions.

Councilor Clay Bearnson said he wondered why the proposed deal does not allow scooter rentals from midnight to 4 a.m.

“I’m worried about the people who go to work and to Harry and David’s house at 4 am,” he said.

The council agreed to negotiate different terms in the agreement to allow the use of scooters between these hours.

A spokesperson for the company told the board that downtime is needed to retrieve stray scooters as well as to recharge them and to do any maintenance.

The spokesperson said she personally drove the scooters after midnight in Portland.

Under the agreement with Bird Rides, the maximum operating speed for scooters would be 20 mph and riders would have to be at least 18 years old. Scooters should also be driven on the streets and not on the sidewalks.

When scooters are parked, they cannot obstruct sidewalks. In addition, the rider is required to take a photo of the parked scooter and text it to the company.

A toll-free number will be provided to alert the business of blocked sidewalks or other issues.

Bird Rides plans to deploy 50 scooters initially, reaching a fleet of 100. For a town the size of Medford, the company eventually plans to have 200 scooters available. Local contractors will be responsible for handling the Bird scooters.

Medford previously had a non-Bird Rides bike-sharing operation that is no longer in business.

To rent a scooter you will need to download the Bird Rides app, then scan the QR code to start the rental, get on the scooter and go. Scooters can be booked up to 30 minutes before a trip.

Scooters do not need to be tied up in a particular location, which could cause problems if not parked properly.

This could cause problems for people with disabilities who have wheelchairs that require sufficient clearance on sidewalks.

According to ridester.com, Bird scooters cost $ 1 to unlock and 10 cents to 35 cents per minute to rent, depending on the city.

Contact freelance writer Damian Mann at [email protected]