Scooters return to downtown Waterloo with extra safety precautions and fun | News

WATERLOO, Iowa (KWL) – Last summer’s popular motorized scooters returned to Waterloo on Friday afternoon, this time in the spring.

Jessica Rucker, executive director of Main Street Waterloo, said the two companies – Helbiz and Bird – worked closely with the city to ensure this launch would be safe and fun.

Scooters bring a lot of traffic to downtown businesses and help connect them across the downtown bridge.

“I think no matter who you talk to and no matter what community you go to, people talk about parking, and since we’re such a big downtown area, you can park once, get a scooter and go in multiple locations,” Rucker said.

“Last year we’ve seen a lot of people cross the bridge to different businesses, and we’re really excited to bring that to downtown and create more connectivity as well,” she added.

Gage Seaburn, director of central operations at Helbiz Scooters, says they’ve taken the past eight months to really focus on rider safety.

Last year scooters were launched in June and then the rules were updated for riders over the summer. This time around, the city and the scooter companies took what they learned last year and put it to use. From promoting helmet use to hosting safety events like today’s, companies are putting safety at the forefront of rides.

“Besides the helmets, our safety precautions, we’re doing a lot more geofencing, which is zoning certain areas, where if there’s high foot traffic, we want to make sure we’re not just flying scooters, so do -them hitting the speed limits,” Seaburn said.

Some rules are the same, like wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws, and you must be 18 or older to ride. Bird uses new technology in its app, which scans an ID to verify a passenger’s age. Helbiz also offers free helmet requests on its website, which will be shipped to you for your next downtown adventure.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of the story identified Rucker as the executive director of Experience Waterloo, not Main Street Waterloo. The story has been updated to correct Rucker’s title.


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Susan W. Lloyd