City of Mason City renews agreement for sharable electric stand-up scooters

MASON CITY — The City Council in Mason City this week approved a memorandum of understanding with a company that introduced sharable electric stand-up scooters to the community last year. The council will allow about 60 of the scooters from Bird Rides Incorporated of Santa Monica California to be operated in the community between 4:00 AM and midnight.

Mayor Bill Schickel says the scooters were popular in 2021.  “They started in May, put out 61 of them, and when I saw these stats it kind of blew my mind. 8000 miles were traveled on those electric scooters. 3600 rides last year. As people get to know them, I think we’ll only see more use of them.”

Schickel says data provided by Bird Rides also shows the scooters had a positive environmental impact.  “1.6 metric tons of CO2 was saved according to estimates made by Bird where people are using that kind of transportation rather than driving your car.”

 When Bird originally proposed placing the scooters in Mason City, some had expressed concerns that people recklessly using the scooters would cause problems, but Schickel says there were no major accidents related to them, and there were no major issues such as theft or damage to the scooters.  “They can be hazardous, and so you have to be careful in the operation of them, but we did not have any serious accidents. Once people got used to using them, I think with the rules on where you put them and so forth, I think people got more used to that. The great thing is you saw young people and families and visitors to Mason City having a great way to get around town. I think people really enjoyed them. It’s obvious when you look at some of the stats here.”

As part of the memorandum of understanding, the city is protected in case of liability, and in turn, Bird is fully responsible for owning and maintaining the scooters. The city does not receive any compensation or payment from Bird.