MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Larry Cooke is on his lunch break tooling around downtown streets on a Bird.

“I can just jump on one and I can make it in five minutes,” Cook says.

He’s talking about the electric scooters a person rents to get you short distances with little effort and cost.

“On average, this ride is about $1.15 to $1.80,” Cooke said.

The rental scooters are the latest addition to our ride-sharing options. Similar to the Nice Ride bikes seen on city sidewalks that a person can rent to ride.

But unlike Nice Ride, the Bird company put the cart before the horse. It began distributing scooters around Minneapolis and St. Paul recently without seeking city approval.

Granted, the City of Minneapolis didn’t have a specific ordinance regulating such a business.

That changed Friday morning, when city council members voted unanimously to pass an amended traffic code. The ordinance change authored by Ward 1 Council Member Kevin Reich gives the city better control over scooter rental vendors.

Also, the city will soon enter into licensing agreements with scooter suppliers like Bird.

“Minneapolis fully embraces this mode, it’s proved itself very effective for certain trips, for say a bus to where you want to do your errand. And so we invite that, however we want to have a right of way for all users and modes of users in city of Minneapolis,” Reich said.

Meantime, St. Paul is forcing all Bird scooters off the streets Friday at midnight. The city plans to create a pilot program in early August to give both vendors and riders clear rules of the road.

“Regulation’s going to be nice to keep them on the streets,” Cooke said.

Bill Hudson