Bird scooters available in Kirksville

Deacon Owens and graduate student Jared Hagemeier ride Bird scooters on the road. The scooters cannot be ridden on Truman’s campus. Photo by Rachel Becker

The city of Kirksville made a contract with a micro-mobility company, Bird, to provide electric scooters in Kirksville.

The Kirksville City Council passed an ordinance May 17 to start a contract with the company, with the program being officially launched in June. Bird launched their Kirksville operations with 25 scooters available, with the number increasing to 50 as Truman State University’s fall semester begins.

The scooters are equipped with GPS tracking so they can be located at any time. On a full charge, the scooters can go for as far as 30 miles. Bird scooters have a max speed of about 15 miles per hour. The scooters are not available for use from 4 a.m. to midnight.

Users can download the Bird app on their smartphone to locate and rent a scooter. The app also shows the areas in town that have been deemed “no-fly zones” where scooters can not be ridden. The no-fly zones in Kirksville include Truman’s campus and the Square, as well as highway 63. 

Truman’s campus is a no-fly zone due to Bird not having a contract with the University. Bird would have to initiate a new contract for scooters to be allowed on campus.

The no-fly zones are subject to change to accomodate events or other circumstances.

The Bird app also shows all of the locations scooters can be ridden. This area is subject to change based on an increase or decrease in demand.

11 nests are located throughout the Kirksville area. These are locations where the scooters can be parked. The nests are on sidewalks for the safety of users. Most of the nests are currently located around the Square but will be available in a broader area closer to the start of Truman’s fall semester.

Bird has hired a fleet manager to be stationed in Kirksville. This person will be in charge of charging the scooters, as well as locating or repairing scooters.

The scooter rentals start at $1. An additional charge is added at a rate of 39 cents per minute. 

Healthcare workers in Kirksville are eligible for two free scooter rides per day during the pandemic. This offer began in limited cities across the United States but is now available at all Bird locations.

A Bird spokesperson said Bird was initially interested in Kirksville as a way to help with pandemic recovery and provide transportation to those who need it.

 “A growing list of cities, states and countries are looking to micro-mobility alternatives, such as scooters and bikes, not only as a means of minimizing congestion but also as a way to support local economic recovery. We are excited to work with Kirksville to offer residents safe and sustainable transportation during the pandemic and beyond,” a Bird spokesperson said.