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Scooters parked in sidewalks cause dangers for disabled

Posted at 5:45 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 20:33:41-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Scooters are about as common as cars if you venture to downtown Kansas City. 

But if not parked correctly, the scooters can cause quite the obstacle for the disabled.

"They would leave them smack in the middle of the sidewalk," said disability advocate Susie Haack. 

When the scooters were introduced in Kansas City, Haack said it created a dangerous situation, especially for her, who uses a wheelchair. 

"I would have to go into the street, I would have to backtrack and go down a driveway or go down a curb ramp and then go in the street and go around it to the next driveway or curb ramp. It's not the most safe thing to do in the world," said Haack. 

41 Action News went around downtown and for the most part found the scooters in the correct place, but there were some in teh way making it hard for people in a wheelchair to get by.

The Whole Person said they've received complaints about the scooters. 

"It's not just a safety issue, it's almost like the community is being forgotten," said Michael Riley, public policy specialist at The Whole Person. 

The city said they've had just a handful of complaints, but describe scooter and scooter enforcement as a learning experience and are working with both companies to correct this. 

The city is working on a pilot program to influence better parking habits like more bike racks to park scooters and using mobile app technology. 

"Both companies are developing ways of helping to inform riders on the proper parking method," Rick Usher, assistant city manager, said Thursday.

A Bird spokeman sent 41 Action News this statement regarding this issue:

"Bird takes concrete steps to educate riders how to safely ride and park a Bird, including providing an in-app tutorial [] and requiring riders to take a photo whenever they park their Bird at the end of a ride. Bird values the feedback from members of the Kansas City community, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve and evolve our service. To help combat any issues related to the placement and parking of our vehicles, we are deploying Bird Watchers in Kansas City to work with local communities and help ensure that Birds are parked, ridden and picked up correctly. Bird Watchers will be working in the area starting this week." - a Bird spokesperson.