It’s a Bird, It’s a Scooter, It’s an Overnight Sensation . . . But Is It Legal?

(Author’s note: The last section of this post was added after its initial publication.)

Electric scooters have recently appeared overnight in cities across North Carolina. The scooters, most of which are owned by the Bird Rides company, have been deposited without advance announcement in downtown areas. Would-be riders download an app that allows them to scan a code on the scooter that unlocks it. The scooter can then be ridden for $1 start-up charge plus 15 cents per minute. The app instructs users to ride in bike lanes where available and to avoid pedestrians on the sidewalk. It also states that traffic regulations prohibit riding on sidewalks, in public parking structures, without a helmet, and without a valid driver’s license. Is all of that correct? And can these scooters lawfully be operated on North Carolina streets?

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What’s a Vehicle?

James Heselden, the owner of the company that makes the Segway personal transporter, died recently after driving his Segway off a cliff. It appears to have been a tragic accident, and the accounts I’ve read suggest that Heselden was an interesting person and a remarkable philanthropist. Thinking about Segways, though, reminded me that I’ve been … Read more