A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Bird scooters: Learn how and where to park

Written May 18th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Five Birds on the sidewalk outside the downtown Albany post office on Tuesday afternoon.

The Bird scooters are still in their first month of being available in Albany, and there may be a learning curve yet to be climbed.

One of the concerns someone mentioned when the city council and others first talked about this was that users would leave the electric scooters littering the sidewalks when they finish a ride.

When you see a bunch of Birds blocking the sidewalk —  a flock of of five, for example, like in the photo above — the conclusion is that people renting them need to be instructed how to park them after a ride. Or reminded how not to park them, anyway.

Another concern people mentioned was about helmets.

Last week I talked with a couple who were riding the scooters on the Dave Clark Path, with proper bike helmets firmly in place, before they zoomed off at 10 mph. But I’ve also seen others, mostly young people, flying around downtown streets with their heads bare.

Because Oregon law does not require adults to wear helmets when riding bicycles, I initially doubted that helmets were required on scooters. But I was mistaken. When the scooters have motors, electric or otherwise, different rules apply.

Turns out there’s a statute (ORS 814.534)  that requires protective head gear for any person operating a “motor-assisted scooter on a highway or premises open to the public.”

Failure to do so is a traffic violation, and the presumptive fine is $25.

I doubt the Albany police have time to stop, let alone chase bareheaded scooters.  And if anyone does get a ticket for riding a Bird without a helmet, the law provides that if it’s the first time, the fine does not have to be imposed if the person can show the court “that the person has protective headgear” of an approved type.

Chances are the scooters will gain popularity during the spring and summer as the weather stays consistently dry. And as long as they don’t block the sidewalks when parked, there won’t be many complaints. (hh)

30 responses to “Bird scooters: Learn how and where to park”

  1. Bob Woods says:

    Looks like the people using them need to be reminded that being a good citizen makes life better for everyone. Since they must be using a Bird app, it seems like the company could quite easily remind them…repeatedly.

    • JM says:

      Thank you Bob. I know every one of us can use a friendly reminding that being a good citizen makes life better for everyone.

      Perhaps the Bird app can remind users about OR’s mandatory helmet statute as well.

  2. Leanne says:

    I’ve been wondering about liability if a rider damages a vehicle or hits a pedestrian? Riders could be unlicensed, not following the rules of the road, not wearing a helmet, underage if anyone with a credit card pays for their scooter, etc. As you said, the police are not likely to be enforcing the helmet law (or probably any other laws concerning these scooters).

  3. Bill Kapaun says:

    Let the City collect them like abandoned shopping carts and fine the owners. That precedent has already been established. Let’s see if/how the City Council discriminates against the stores and turns a blind eye to this obvious scooter problem. Think of all the revenue you can generate Ray K.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      As far as I know, the city has never collected abandoned shopping carts and fined the owners.

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        But they installed an ordinance to fine the grocery stores for abandoned carts. Citing those that are actually stealing them? That would make too much sense.


    I thought that the company assured the city council that helmets would be required? I have yet to see a rider wearing a helmet, and I have also not seen helmets provided with the scooters, though I watched a worker place scooters at the N. Albany IGA parking lot one morning.

    • Tyler says:

      I have used these a lot in other cities. Helmets are the responsibility of the rider, not the company.

  5. Mac says:

    Do I need to wear a helmet when jogging too? I run pretty fast…

  6. Ray Kopczynski says:

    It should be easy to “remind” folks about wearing the helmet via their app – when you turn it on when starting it. However, since are no specifically designated parking spaces, other than a generalized “how to” do so, it’s more problematic. It then becomes a “service” issue picking up and/or “re-parking” them by whomsoever is managing the local fleet IMO. In your example, whoever dropped one off 1st, set the standard for that area it seems… And, while you shouldn’t have to, how hard is it to simply move them yourself when you feel one is blocking your way? Not hard and not rocket science… :-)

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      What’s to stop these children from “borrowing” their parents credit/debit card? There’s a certain group of “parents” that simply don’t care about things like car insurance or what their children do etc. because they don’t have a pot…….

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Yes! Just toss them in the street.

  7. Shana says:

    This was a completely stupid idea for the city to approve, maybe in a larger town they would be more useful. They are going to get trashed, stolen etc. I have seen one sitting over on Waverly for several days. Who paid for these??

    • Bob Woods says:

      The Bird company.

      Not the City. It doesn’t costs you a cent unless you use one.

      So why are you so tee’d off? Are you against Capitalism and the Free Market?

  8. MarK says:

    Personally, I’ve never seen a rider wearing a helmet OR riding anywhere other than the sidewalk.

  9. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Remind the riders to be good citizens? That got a laugh out of me.

    These are toys, not transportation. You’re dealing with a childlike mental state.

    When kids misuse their toys we take them away. It’s just a matter of time before the city council does the same.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      This City Council admit they made a mistake. That’s not going to happen. Their smugness TRUMPS reality.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Have a cup of coffee with your councilor and convince him/her it is a mistake…

    • Bob Woods says:

      So says the anti-capitalist Gordon Shadle.

      Demanding government step in and shut down free-market entrepreneur’s.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Yes, I’m wearing my left leaning hat on this issue.

        To use leftist words, these scooters are not sustainable or inclusive.

        Ridership studies have shown that these scooters disfavor people of color, are ability-challenged, or come from the lower end of the socioeconomic scale.

        It is a fact that transportation has historically been used to perpetuate systematic racism and gender imbalance. Rental scooters, if used as a form transportation, contribute to the problem.

        It’s a matter of privilege.

        It’s a matter of equity.

        What do we want? BAN!
        When do we want it? NOW!

      • Bill Kapaun says:

        They do it to drug dealers and other nuisances all the time.

  10. centrist says:

    Something is new. Must be abomination.

  11. CHEZZ says:

    Maybe it’s a learning curve…

  12. Cheryl P says:

    (shaking head) We saw what happened in Portland with these scooters, why would anyone think it would be different here? Unless you intend to rent a scooter, who is going to be carrying a helmet on them? While it may seem like common sense to not block the sidewalk, where exactly in the picture are you supposed to park that doesn’t block the sidewalk in some fashion? If I park on the right, I’m blocking folks parked on the street, if I park on the left, I’m blocking folks parked in the lot.

  13. Rich Kellum says:

    The picture=1000 words, these things are an attractive nuisance.

  14. Mac says:

    A bunch of us low-lifes had fun on them tonight. I’m sure you old ass, elite feeling, white, boomers will put a stop to that

  15. Bill Mclagan says:

    Keeping the scooters charged is another problem. A friend of mine’s grandson had to use three (at $20 a pop) just to get where he wanted to go.


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