Lime complying with cease-and-desist, but Bird says scooters will stay

INDIANAPOLIS -- Lime says it will comply with a cease-and-desist order from the city of Indianapolis by taking its motorized scooters off the streets, effective Thursday evening.

City officials sent the company a cease-and-desist order on Tuesday amid a debate over how to regulate the electric scooters that Lime and its competitor, Bird, brought to the city last month.

Members of the Indianapolis City-County Council’s Public Works Committee met June 28 to discuss a regulatory framework ordinance that would allow the city to license “shared mobility system” owners like Lime and Bird.

READ MORE | Motorized scooter ordinance heading to Indy Council as companies flaunt city code

City code currently bans the shared, dockless, electric scooters, but the city has not enforced the ban since Bird dropped its first scooters in mid-June.

Part of the proposed scooter ordinance, which is scheduled for a hearing before the full council on July 16, would allow the city to take into account past compliance with city/county ordinances during the license-granting process.

In a statement Thursday night, Lime’s director of strategic development, Maggie Gendron, said that provision convinced the company to suspend operations in the city until an ordinance is passed.

“As Lime chooses to work with the city, we trust the city will in fact hold all scooter companies operating in Indianapolis accountable to the same standards,” Gendron said. “We have, and will continue to work collaboratively with the city towards crafting a common-sense regulatory solution that prioritizes rider safety and accessibility, while maintaining our scooters as an affordable transportation option for Indianapolis residents. We look forward to returning to the streets once circumstances change in regards to the city permitting process, or in the event a competitor continues to operate without enforcement action.”

The electric scooters have proven to be a surprise hit in Indianapolis. According to Lime’s regional general manager Jason Wilde, nearly 3,700 people used one of the company’s scooters in their first five days in Indianapolis.

The proposed ordinance heading to the full City-County Council would allow the city to grant licenses to shared mobility companies at a cost of $15,000 a year, plus $1 per scooter. That money would be used in part to improve the city’s existing transportation infrastructure.

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RTV6 reached out via email Thursday evening to Crosscut Strategies, the PR firm representing Bird in Indianapolis, to see whether Bird intended to comply with the cease-and-desist order.

A Bird spokesperson replied on Saturday, saying the company intended to keep its scooters running as they have been. The company released the following statement to RTV6:

“Indianapolis is a growing, dynamic city interested in increasing access to affordable transportation options. This goal is complementary to Bird's mission. Bird is operating lawfully with the required business permit in the city of Indianapolis, and the people of Indianapolis have enthusiastically embraced shared electric scooters. We're working cooperatively with city officials on a draft ordinance that will require operators to have a new form of permit once the ordinance is passed. We hope that city officials will be able to create a smooth transition to the new permit process so that service to Hoosiers is not interrupted.”

READ MORE | Electric scooters taking over Indianapolis |City asks Bird scooters to suspend operations in Indy for 30 days while they work out ordinances |  Bird shared electric scooters for rent are now available in Indianapolis | Rentable e-scooters creating unexpected problems in San Francisco

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