Athens puts the breaks on Bird scooters amid complaints

Amid concerns that electric scooters are being dumped all over Athens and pose a danger to the public, the local government has temporarily banned them.

Bird scooters will be grounded following a recent decision by the Athens-Clarke County Commission.

The scooters began showing up on Athens sidewalks and streets in August, and soon generated concerns about safety.

The biggest problem is that users are "dumping them all over the place," Commissioner Andy Herod said.

"They are making private profit and the public is picking up the cost of having to deal with this," he said.

The University of Georgia began impounding scooters left on the campus soon after they began arriving. As of the end of last month, UGA was holding more than 1,100 of the scooters, and had assessed more than $500,000 in fines and fees on the company.

The ban won't affect a UGA bicycle-sharing program, said Commissioner Jerry NeSmith, chairman of the county commission's legislative review committee.

The ban is meant to be temporary so that local officials can draft rules for the scooters, the newspaper reported.

Committee members believe the technology is wanted and useful, NeSmith said. They expect them to eventually return.

"It's a good alternative form of transportation," he said. "That's not the issue. The issue is public safety."

The company that owns and maintains the scooters received 10 days to remove them. Officials intend to impound any Bird scooters still lingering after that grace period.

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