(Tuesday - February 16, 2021) - City officials are currently looking into the question of whether to authorize the rental of two-wheel, electric scooters in Iron Mountain.

The matter was discussed at some length at the Monday meeting of the City Council, after a company called Bird Scooters addressed the matter with a written proposal to the City.

The proposed two wheeled scooters are completely computerized, and operate through a mobile app that users must download.  The proposed rental rate will be about 30 cents per minute, or $18.00 per hour.  The scooters have a 20 mile range.

City Manager Jordan Stanchina said that it appears that the scooters are permitted under Michigan's Uniform Traffic Code. However, they would not be permitted on State highways, meaning that Stephenson Avenue (US-2) and Carpenter Avenue (M-95) would be off limits.

The City would have no financial involvement with the venture, but would likely have to adopt an ordinance authorizing the use of the scooters on City streets, and setting parameters for their use.

The program operates pretty much like a franchise, so the company would have to find a local entity to handle the scooters in order to make it work.

The City Manager said that if the Council did authorize them, they could use this first tourist season as an experiment or trial period. The Council would have the power to rescind or modify the controlling ordinance if problems develop.

The rental begins with a potential user accessing the Bird app. Once the application and billing process has been set up, the app will show the location of the nearest available scooter. A user would also use the app to lock or unlock the scooter.

Manager Stanchina said that these rental programs are common in larger cities, but said he is not aware of any such operations in cities the size of Iron Mountain.

The matter is expected to come up again at the first Council meeting in March.

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