Scooter rental program coming to Minot

Electric scooters will be coming to Minot.

The Minot City Council on Monday approved a Memorandum of Understanding with Bird Rides, Inc., to allow the company to operate a short-term electric scooter rental program in the city. Traveling up to 15 mph, the scooters would operate on streets, similar to a bicycle, and would be enabled via a geofence to operate only in specific areas of the community.

“Bird is working with the City of Minot to bring our eco-friendly e-scooters to the area this summer. Providing riders in cities like Minot with a fun and sustainable transportation option is core to our mission of reducing reliance on gas powered vehicles,” the company said in a statement this week.

The company shares how to ride a Bird scooter on a blog post at https://www.bird.co/blog/how-to-bird-beginners-guide-shared-scooter-riding/.

The scooters offer a beginner mode with gentle acceleration, free rides for healthcare workers and emergency personnel and a Community Pricing Program that provides a 50% discount to low-income riders, Pell grant recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans and senior citizens.

To sign up for the free rides, medical workers can email copies of their medical identification cards along with names and phone numbers to together@bird.co. For community pricing, people need to download the Bird app, create an account and email proof of eligibility to access@bird.co.

The scooters are proposed to be available to rent 24 hours a day, using a smartphone app. All users must be 18 years of age or older. Helmets aren’t required but are incentivized by Bird Rides.

The company has proposed a fleet of about 100 scooters, operating nine months of the year.

In other business, the council approved an ordinance change on first reading to allow off-highway vehicles in city limits within certain parameters. Police Chief John Klug said off-highway vehicles already are being used in city limits, despite the ban, so the ordinance would set rules for their operation.

The changes in Chapter 20 of city code states off-road vehicles must be able to travel at least 20 mph and be equipped with a certain equipment, among which are four rubber tires, turn signals, horns, odometers, speedometers, seatbelts, windshields and factory-installed roll cage.

Operators must be at least 16 years of age and hold valid driver’s licenses, and the vehicles must be covered by liability insurance. Operators or passengers younger than 18 must wear helmets. The vehicles must have headlights and taillights on at all times.

Off-road vehicles would continue to be prohibited on Broadway, Burdick Expressway, Valley Street and the U.S. Highway 2, Highway 2 and 52 and Highway 83 bypasses.

Operating an off-road vehicle carelessly, under the influence or on private or public property without permission carries regular traffic offense penalties. Other violations of the ordinance carry a fine of $40.

In additional action, the council made decisions regarding flags, parking passes and legal services.

The council retained Shane Goettle to provide legal services regarding state government affairs, including those associated with flood protection and energy impacts. The agreement that runs from this June through May 31, 2024, and maintains the existing costs of $3,500 a month during non-legislative session months and $7,500 a month during legislative session months.

The council approved refunding a half month of payments to parking pass holders to reimburse for a period in April when free parking was offered in the downtown parking ramps because of snow issues. Pass holders can receive either credits on future bills or refund checks. The estimated total cost of the refunds is $4,100.

The council amended its policy outlining the types of flags permitted on city flagpoles to allow the POW/MIA flag to be flown in the veterans section at Rosehill Memorial Park. The council will review policy wording that inadvertently excludes the Minot Police Department from annually flying a flag in honor of fallen police officers on a day of commemoration.


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