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*NEWS: BIRD Pilot Program in Santa Ana Goes Through March

If you see an electric scooter on the streets of Santa Ana, they’re legal, for now.

The city launched a pilot program with Bird, the startup unicorn that created the infamous scooters.

The pilot program runs through the end of March, according to Daisy Perez, a senior management assistant in the city manager’s office.

In December, the Santa Ana City Council authorized the program, allowing the limited use of electric scooters.

The program allows for public and business community feedback and will be collecting data.

In April, city staff will analyze that feedback and data and determine the next steps.

Bird, with HQ in Santa Monica, has apparently been banned from the streets of Newport Beach, according to news reports.

Last year, Bird broke a record in the time it took to reach unicorn status – a $1 billion valuation – faster than any other startup, according to news reports.

But its electric scooters have been polarizing since they first hit the streets of SoCal in September 2017.

Some love the convenience of riding the scooters for the “last mile” to work or home.

Others — especially locals in the Santa Monica/Venice area, who are peeved that the scooters are just discarded haphazardly when users are done riding them —  have shown their disgust by tossing them off balconies, throwing them into the ocean or setting them on fire.

And, these scooters cause injuries, since most riders don’t wear helmets. The first study to report the scope of injuries, which was recently released by JAMA Network, found that close to 250 people visited SoCal emergency rooms with a variety of injuries, including brain bleeds, from scooter accidents, according to news reports. Most were riders, but some were pedestrians.

About The Author

Deirdre Newman is a long-time journalist, who's covered OC startups for a few years.

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