Overland Park Mayor Curt Skoog took a ride on a Bird scooter Tuesday afternoon around downtown to celebrate the official launch of a two-year pilot program for the electronic devices.
The program is similar to other rental scooter programs in the metro, including in neighboring Prairie Village.
The vehicles are electric and can be unlocked for relatively short rides with an app and an account. The pilot was approved by Overland Park City Council unanimously in early February.
“I am excited to welcome Bird to Overland Park. These scooters are a great option for a fun ride, or they can replace a car trip to work or school,” Skoog said at the Tuesday event.
Here are some things you may want know before getting on one:
Who is eligible to ride a scooter?
To take a spin on a Bird scooter, first riders must download the free Bird-Ride Electric mobile app.
The app will require all riders to accept the company’s rental agreement and provide their contact information, a photo of their driver’s license and a credit or debit card before renting a scooter.
Riders are required to be at least 18 to access the scooters and are encouraged to wear a helmet on every ride.
OK, once I have the app, how do a find a scooter?
A map will appear on the app that shows the locations of all scooters currently available to ride across Overland Park.
When coming across a scooter, all you have to do is scan the scooter’s QR code in the app and hit the “Start Ride” button.
How much does it cost?
Riders must pay a $1 fee each time to “unlock” the vehicle to allow it to move.
You then pay several cents per every minute during the ride.
In addition, under the city’s pilot, riders will be charged a 25-cent per ride that goes to the City.
Where can I ride them?
The scooters, which have a maximum speed of 15 mph, can be ridden on either bike lanes and sidewalks within Overland Park city limits.
Riders can also take to streets on e-scooters as long as the road’s speed limit is 35 mph or less. Riders must obey all standard rules of the road while riding.
Some parks and trails are also available to be ridden on, but some parts of trails are off limits, though the Bird app should outline where these areas are.
The city has also barred the scooters from public soccer complexes, golf courses, the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.
What do I do once I’m done riding?
The app will have designated scooter parking zones riders can leave the Bird once they are done.
Some designated parking zones include public bike racks and near city street signs, except for stop and bus signs.
Locations riders should not park scooters are:
- at loading zones and handicapped-accessible parking zones,
- on curb ramps, in front of private driveways and entrances to private property,
- in the middle of sidewalks or intersections
- and on benches or public structures.
When a rider arrives at their destination, they simply stop the vehicle and log off through the app.
Where in Overland Park are the scooters expected to placed?
While Bird handles the day-to-day placement of the scooters, city officials say residents can expect to see them in both north and south Overland Park.
Anywhere popular, walkable attractions are found are the most likely places the scooters will appear on a daily basis.
Oak Park Mall, the Aspiria campus, Prairiefire and downtown Overland Park are expected to be hotspots for the motorized vehicles, officials said.
Riders can check the location of any available scooter by opening Bird’s app and reviewing the city’s map on the app’s home screen.
What happens when I reach city limits?
Bird scooters will only work in Overland Park and adjoining cities where the company operates.
The scooter will begin to beep once you near the city limit. If a rider tries to go past the allotted area, the scooter will automatically shut down, ending the ride.
Currently, in Johnson County, only Overland Park and Prairie Village have launched pilot programs that allow for Bird scooters to be ridden in their cities.
Other cities in the county, including Shawnee and Mission, have discussed the legal implications of the scooters but have not introduced them to their areas.