Birds In Full Flight
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Birds in Full Flight

The electric scooters that are taking the nation by storm.

Birds in Full Flight

You more than likely have seen the explosively popular electric rental scooters parked around a city near you. On Michigan State University's campus in particular and throughout East Lansing, whether they are Lime or Bird brand, these scooters provide a form of transportation for thousands of students.

Personally, I am an OG Bird fan, and have not rode Lime scooters, since they appeared on campus a few weeks after Bird scooters, back at the beginning of the semester. I for one, was fascinated with the idea of these scooters as soon as they came to East Lansing. For those unfamiliar with the concept, let me enlighten you on the genius idea behind these scooters and their uses. For the purpose of this article, I am going to focus on my personal favorite version or brand of scooters; Birds.

In order to use the Bird scooters, one must download the app on their phone. Using the app you can locate scooters near you and walk or travel to them. You must have credit card information inputted into the app, and from there can "unlock" a scooter by scanning a QR code or typing in the code manually. It costs $1 to unlock a scooter, and then $0.20 per minute of use after that. Whenever you are done riding, you pull over and park the scooter somewhere that isn't obstructing walk ways or entries to buildings and "lock" the scooter on the app. From there, the scooter is free for the next individual that comes across it to use and ride. The scooters are electric, and when their battery life becomes low, Bird's paid "chargers" pick up the scooters off the road, bring them home, charge them with equipment sent to them by the company, and place them back in recommended areas within the city, called "nests", within three days.

Shortly after the scooters appeared in East Lansing, there was an uproar, from multiple parties. Many students and young adults in the city, were excited about the arrival of a convenient, eco friendly, and fun form of shared transportation. Others, however, many of which have never rode a Bird, or even know how they are used, complained about them being scattered across the city. Though Bird scooters complied with the laws and regulations of the City of East Lansing, the Michigan State Police Department impounded over 100 Bird scooters in the beginning of October, as they did not comply with the ordinances on Michigan State's campus specifically.

Neither the City nor MSU were very pleased when the scooters were dropped in the city at the beginning of the semester, with no warning, which encouraged the bad blood between the companies and East Lansing officials. In a recent article written by Eric Lacey in the Lansing State Journal, the MSU police captain Doug Monette said, that the MSU police department has impounded 204 Bird and Lime scooters for being parked in inappropriate places on campuses, but that the companies have not contacted them about retrieving the impounded scooters.

Personally, I think this is ridiculous. Sure, if the scooters were actually obstructing an entire sidewalk, or perhaps an entrance to a building or a handicap ramp, impounding would be understandable. However, in a previous article from October, when the initial 100 scooters were impounded, the MSU police department said they were impounded for even being in grass areas, at bus stops, or at bike racks (which is where Bird encourages people to park the scooters, as they are out of the way of traffic on sidewalks).

Birds have saved me multiple times since living on campus. From birding to class, to birding to work, they have proved to be more than convenient. I am clearly not the only one to feel this way either. I see so many students ride these very same scooters every single day, as they provide a reliable form of transportation for students who don't have access to vehicles on campus or even if they have access, would like to avoid a headache.

Speaking as someone who doesn't own a bicycle, my main forms of transportation are walking or riding the bus, while at school. The bus is great and free this year on MSU's campus (yay, go state), but if I need a quick and easy way to get somewhere on the other side of MSU's 5,200-acre campus, a Bird is an extremely viable option for me.

When speaking in terms of cost-effectiveness, the longest I have ever had to ride a Bird, was about 11 minutes, making my total about $3.20. In my eyes, if I am in a real pickle, that is definitely worth it.

With winter upon us here in East Lansing, I'm not really sure about the fate of Bird scooters throughout the upcoming snow filled months, however, I hope they stay around for as long as possible. The mayor of East Lansing was quoted saying that the city suspects the use of the electric scooters will decrease significantly during and after winter break, but, if they see continued use in January when students return to campus, they will consider making contract agreements with the scooter sharing companies.

I will keep riding them, hats, gloves, and all until the snow is impossible to ride through, because I appreciate the true entrepreneurial genius that this company is, and I appreciate the thought put into them being placed on college campus' across the nation, for students like myself.

Thanks, Bird.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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