What you need to know about E-scooters in Springfield

After the Springfield City Council approved a bill that allowed electric scooter — or “E-scooter” — rental companies to do business in the city in early August, one company is officially starting to rent out the machines today, Sept. 1.

Bird, an electric scooter rental franchise company based out of Los Angeles, is unleashing 20 scooters in Springfield’s downtown and Commercial Street districts, according to a press release from the city. The scooters will be tracked and kept within a geofenced area.

Courtesy of the City of Springfield

Maps of parking areas and in-depth looks at riding areas can be found on the City of Springfield’s website page about the program.

Communication Coordinator Kristen Milam told Ozarks First that once someone rides a scooter outside of the geofenced area, it shuts off.

Each scooter is also tracked by the rental company, so if someone decides to put on in the back of the truck, the rental company will come to collect it.

“Over the past year or so, City staff have been carefully preparing for the arrival of e-scooter companies in Springfield, wrote Grady Porter, an engineer for Public Works Traffic Engineering. “We worked alongside several interested companies and also conducted our own research into the benefits and potential drawbacks e-scooters offer. We believe we now have new municipal code in place that will help support micromobility companies while also avoiding some of the issues other communities have experienced.”

There are 23 designated scooter parking zones in the geofenced area. They’re framed with green paint and labeled with a decal that reads “Scooter Parking Only.” The scooters are not allowed to be driven on sidewalks. The scooters must be maintained by the companies that rent them out. The scooters must also be collected by the rental company if they’re left in a place that might pose some danger to the public.

  • The press release laid out other rules for the scooters:
  • The scooters can’t go above 15 mph. On greenway trails, they can only go up to 10 mph.
  • The scooters can’t be on roads with speed limits over 30 mph.
  • A driver’s license is required to rent a scooter.
  • Rentals stop at 10 p.m. every night. However, if someone rents one before 10 p.m. and goes past that time, the scooter will keep going until the ride has ended.

Missouri State University is also getting scooters today and will be holding a launch event at Bearhead Plaza from 1-3 p.m today. The scooters from MSU will also be run by Bird and can be used throughout the Springfield scooter zone.

MSU students start trying out e-scooters

An electric scooter launch event was held Thursday on Missouri State University’s campus. Students received free helmets from the company, Bird, that deployed the scooters on campus.

Students also tested out the scooters for the first time on campus. “It’s just so much fun,” said Devon Frieze. “I’ve got to ride around a bunch. It picks up speed nicely.”

Scooters are also in other areas around Springfield. Bird is permitted by the City of Springfield to place 20 e-scooters in designated deployment areas in Springfield’s downtown and Commercial Street business districts.

This is on top of the 30 e-scooters that were deployed on MSU’s campus. “Get to class easier,” said Frieze. “Just another way of getting around.”

There are some concerns about safety. The scooters do come with some regulations. City of Springfield Engineer, Grady Porter, said Springfield worked with numerous other cities that already have e-scooters to figure out what might work best.

The goal, he said, is to have them be as safe as possible.