Bird electric scooters, like these seen Nov. 16 along the intersection of Colby Avenue and Hewitt Avenue, were improperly left on an overhang of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge in Everett in early November. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Bird electric scooters, like these seen Nov. 16 along the intersection of Colby Avenue and Hewitt Avenue, were improperly left on an overhang of the Grand Avenue Park Bridge in Everett in early November. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Bird scooters removed from Everett bridge overhang

A prankster, or pranksters, lugged the electrified rides to an area not meant for the public on the Grand Avenue Park Bridge.

EVERETT — These Birds nested in the wrong spot.

At least eight Bird electric scooters were stashed in an area not meant for the public on the Grand Avenue Park Bridge in Everett earlier this month.

Flushing them out proved a quick and simple fix.

Everett Public Works staff already in the area on Nov. 7 spotted two scooters that morning. Workers used a bucket truck lift to reach and remove them from the overhang on the west end of the bridge, public works spokesperson Kathleen Baxter wrote in an email.

They put the scooters near the bottom of the stairwell along the sidewalk.

It is a high-profile instance of someone leaving the scooters somewhere they aren’t supposed to be in Everett, less than a year into the program that launched in May.

Riders are supposed to leave the battery-powered two-wheeled transports out of the way and take a picture in the Bird app when their trip is done.

But once someone ends their trip, another person who doesn’t activate the scooter with an account can pick it up and lug it around.

“The program has overall been successful,” Everett economic development director Dan Eernissee wrote in an email. “The majority of scooter users are using them as intended. We have encountered some instances of improper parking and mischief. This includes scooters being left in hard-to-reach places on the Grand Avenue Park Bridge.”

It was unclear if a Bird account was used to move the scooters onto the bridge and if an account was penalized. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Vandalism has been an issue for electric scooter programs in other places, such Tacoma’s Commencement Bay where nine Lime scooters were recently dumped and eventually recovered.

Technically, when one of the scooters is left somewhere improperly, even if it’s in the middle of the sidewalk instead of along the side, it’s the company’s responsibility to relocate it. But city workers were already near the bridge and had the equipment necessary to remove them, Eernissee said.

The city posted “no trespassing,” “no climbing” and “stay on the walkway” signs on the bridge. Staff has been considering adding fencing to keep the public from other areas, like where the Bird scooters were left. Other measures, like a “geofence” that deactivates the device when it’s outside of city limits or on other prohibited areas such as the Interurban Trail, weren’t being pursued, Eernissee said.

“We’re trying to not do geofencing in this area because it’s such a popular area for people to ride,” he said. “It’s one of our tourist draws.”

As of early November, there were over 26,600 trips covering more than 48,500 miles, according to data provided by the city. Those trips amounted to over $2,600 for the city, which collects a small fee from each ride.

For comparison, three electric scooter rental companies in Seattle have accounted for over 2.4 million trips in 2022, according to data published by the city.

A study published in September by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found emergency department visits from e-scooter injuries rose between 2017 and 2020, as the availability of the devices grew. About half of the people injured wore helmets.

So far this year, three patients have gone to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett for serious injuries, according to data from the hospital. Two of those injuries were considered falls from the scooter, and one was from a vehicle collision.

Those numbers were similar to what the Everett hospital saw in 2021.

Ben Watanabe: 425-339-3037; bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @benwatanabe.

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