Andalusia residents who’ve spent any time in the downtown area in the past week should have noticed the addition of Bird, a last-mile electric vehicle being used in more than 100 cities. 


The company is based in Los Angeles, California. Faith Wilson is the Andalusia fleet manager. 


The vehicles are designed to connect more residents to transit options, reducing congestion and improving the quality of life in cities, according to Bird’s website.


In Andalusia, Wilson is staging the scooters from the new parking lot just south of the Court Square. However, riders don’t have to return the scooters, and it is possible to grab a scooter that’s been left elsewhere in town. 


Through the Bird smartphone app, riders can see the closest Bird scooter on a map, unlock it, complete a safety tutorial and ride directly to their desired destination. The cost is $1 to start, with a per-minute fee. 


The fleet manager can use a GPS system to track the location of the Birds, and move them when appropriate.


The app can also be used to report “badly parked Birds” or other issues to the fleet manager. 


The devices are governed by Alabama Code 32-19, which gives the riders the same rights as bicycle riders. State law requires bicycle riders to ride as near to the ride side of the roadway as practicable, and to follow all safety laws. 


The company said the electric scooters can be used on roads and in bike lanes and have a maximum speed of 15 mph.  Riders are required to be 18 years old and above to access the scooters. 

State law requires persons under age 16 to wear a helmet while bicycling or using the electric scooters. 


Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said his office has received numerous calls about the vehicles in their first week of operation. 


“This is new to Andalusia and people are concerned,” he said. “When you go to big cities, you see these kinds of devices used everywhere. I think it’s neat that they think Andalusia is a cool enough city to have this service.


“With that being said, I’d like to assure local residents that we are working with the company to promote safety,” the mayor said. “State law gives guidelines for these vehicles, just like bicycles. We are asking that drivers follow safety laws, and not block sidewalks when they park the electric vehicles.”