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City Of Bloomington Strikes Deal With Scooter Operators

Bird and Lime scooters in downtown Bloomington. (Tyler Lake, WFIU/WTIU News)

The City of Bloomington is finalizing an agreement with a pair of electric scooter operators.  The deal between Bloomington and companies Lime and Bird has a few more steps before it’s finalized.

Bloomington's Board of Public Works and Parks Commission must approve the agreements before they’re final. However, City spokesperson Yael Ksander expects everything to be finished before the end of the month.   

The deal with both Bird and Lime scooter operators is an interim agreement that will regulate any e-scooter company doing business in Bloomington until a municipal ordinance is passed. The agreement was signed yesterday afternoon.

In a press release, Mayor John Hamilton praised the companies for working with the city on the agreement.

“We are encouraged by both Lime’s and Bird’s willingness to collaborate with us to ensure that this alternative is integrated into Bloomington’s transportation network with the highest concern for the particular needs of our city and our residents,” Hamilton says in a statement. “We welcome folks’ continued engagement on issues of safety and accessibility as they relate to e-scooter use in Bloomington.”

Ksander says some residents have voiced concerns about the safety, appearance, and accessibility of the scooters.

We are extremely sensitive to those issues," she says. "We want to make sure that these scooters can be integrated in a way that works for everyone." 

In return for a $10,000 annual fee from each operator and a 10 cent per ride surcharge, the company will return rider data to the city.

Ksander says money generated will go to Bloomington’s general fund, but insists it will be used to pay for things associated with the scooters like additional racks to hold the bikes bike lane repairs.

 The agreement creates fees the companies must pay to operate in the city:

  • Companies will pay the city an annual fee of $10,000 as well as an additional fee of 10 cents per ride on any scooter the company has deployed in the city, to be collected monthly.    
  • A provision within the agreement will give the city access to the company’s data relating to usage.  

 The contract also includes the following requirements:

  • Stipulates parameters for the use and parking of e-scooters in Bloomington
  • Establishes requirements that the rental company provide locally relevant education for riders and communication with the general public on multiple platforms
  • Identifies liability in the case of injury or damage to property
  • Assesses fines for the improper arrangement or parking of the vehicles. The company is subject to a $50 fine for the improper staging of an e-scooter if its placement is not corrected promptly. The fine is to be applied per scooter, per day.

City officials say they will put signs along Kirkwood Avenue and around the courthouse to indicate where riders must dismount from scooters and bikes.

The scooters have created controversy since hundreds of them landed in Bloomington earlier this year. IU officials created rules for scooters on campus not long after they arrived. University parking officials have impounded hundreds of scooters parked incorrectly on campus. Late last month, an IU student suffered a severe head injury after falling off a scooter. The student wasn't wearing a helmet.

The new agreement will stay in place until the Bloomington City Council passes an ordinance regulating scooter use. 

Brock Turner contributed to this story.

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