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'Don’t drink and scoot;' Bismarck officials warn residents of consequences for under-the-influence electric scooter use

Electric scooters
Electric scooters(KFYR)
Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 9:39 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - As electric scooters have increased in popularity as a way to get around Bismarck, Williston and other North Dakota cities, some have concerns about safety. The Bird company, the franchise that places the vehicles around town, is now adding extra precautions to discourage users from drinking and scootering.

Bird is adding a “Safe Start” feature to the scooters. Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., users will be required to correctly enter a keyword into the app in order to activate a scooter.

The update will “help keep [riders] and all members of the community safe on the streets by encouraging responsible riding and keeping scooters available for those who truly need them,” said Rebecca Hahn, chief corporate social responsibility officer at Bird. Bismarck Police also hope to encourage safe riding.

“Anybody who is drinking or operating a motorized vehicle is not making a good decision, and therefore can cause a crash and can be hurt, killed, or they can hurt or kill someone else,” said Bismarck Police Traffic Sergeant Tim Blegh.

Bismarck police say they have not yet responded to any incidents where scooter users have been under the influence.

City Attorney Jannelle Combs says under city law those who are intoxicated are not allowed to operate vehicles, including electric scooters, on roadways.

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