MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than two dozen Bird electric scooters were dumped in South Memphis, and WREG worked to find out why and how to stop this from happening again.
The scooters were picked up soon after Bird and the City were notified, and a spokesperson said changes are being made to prevent the stealing of scooters.
“It looks like somebody doesn’t have any respect for someone’s property, is what it looks like to me,” a resident of the area said.
In total, 25 discarded scooters were dumped at the end of the road, but none of them showed up on the app.
“I think it’s a problem in pretty much every city that has them,” a resident said. “Kind of scattered all over the place.”
Last week, divers pulled more than 50 e-scooters, Lime, Bird and Razor, out of a river in Portland, Oregon. Investigators said they weren’t sure why they were put there, but there’s concern the scooters’ batteries could leak into the river.
“It’s very annoying,” Memphis City Council Chairman Kemp Conrad said. “Listen, I think whether it’s Bird scooters or theft or anything, blight, you’re going to have people that do that. I think they try to steal these batteries thinking there’s materials in there that they can use. The reality is there’s really not.”
Conrad has been a big believer in the e-scooters, working to bring them to Memphis. He said right now there’s about 850 e-scooters between Bird and Lime on the streets.
While it’s unclear why the scooters were dumped at this specific spot, it looks like the motive was the batteries.
A spokesperson with the City of Memphis said Bird has started to install metal housing units around the batteries on older scooters to protect them.
“From a city standpoint, when this happens, we let the companies know, and they usually pick them up within an hour,” Conrad said. “The new models that are coming out, the batteries are harder to get at and to do that to.”
Bird told WREG they have a team designated for dealing with issues like this and ask people to report any vandalism. A Bird spokesperson sent the following statement.
“Bird is always looking to bring the very best in transportation innovation to its Memphis residents and we strongly recommend reporting any damaged scooters or incidents that Bird scooters are involved in, as we have a support team dedicated to safety that is available around the clock to address questions and reports we receive. Bird provides a number of ways for people to reach us including by email (Hello@bird.co), through our in-app messaging feature, and by phone.”