Bird Fights for Californians’ Right to Access Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Transit Options
Venice, CA (November 1, 2018) – Bird, the leader in last-mile shared dockless mobility, filed a lawsuit today against the City of Beverly Hills for violating state law and constitutional rights when it unceremoniously banned shared e-scooters. In July, the Beverly Hills City Council moved to immediately ban all e-scooters and the Beverly Hills Police Department began immediately impounding Bird vehicles found on city streets. Bird is asking the Los Angeles County Superior Court to reverse the ban and overturn the unlawful impounds.
The actions taken by the City of Beverly Hills are at odds with California’s goals of being a global climate leader; goals that are enshrined into state law and policy. As Bird details in its suit, the City’s ban on e-scooters is unlawful and preempted by the California Vehicle Code, which grants operators of motorized scooters the same rights and privileges as operators of other motor vehicles, and explicitly promotes adoption of emissions free motorized scooters.
The Beverly Hills ban also violates the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires the City Council to conduct a review of the environmental consequences of removing zero emissions transportation options, such as e-scooters. The City Council failed to conduct a CEQA review, arguing the ban would have no impact on the environment — an assertion that runs contrary to logic and facts showing that use of Bird’s zero-emissions vehicles decreases CO2 emitting car trips.
“The Beverly Hills ban on e-scooters has robbed local residents and workers who need to travel into the city of an affordable and environmentally friendly transit choice they are entitled to under California law. The ban directly contravenes California’s explicit goals of putting more electric vehicles on the road to help reduce carbon emissions,” said David Estrada, Chief Legal Officer and Head of Government Partnerships at Bird. “We seek a fair process for regulating e-scooters that adheres to the limited authority California has granted cities to regulate this type of vehicle. Cities are bound to adhere to the U.S. Constitution, CEQA, and the California Vehicle Code specifically promoting the use and adoption of motorized scooters. Our hope is that Beverly Hills will right this wrong and help Southern California move forward with a cleaner approach to transit.”
Bird is also arguing that its constitutional right to due process and statutory civil rights were violated when Beverly Hills impounded Bird’s property without probable cause, and without having posted signs warning of possible impounds. In addition, the Beverly Hills Police Department violated Bird’s constitutional rights by seizing Bird property without providing compensation, and instead posed unconstitutionally excessive fines on the company that are disproportionate to the costs of impound.
Concerns surrounding transparency and access to democracy are also central to the lawsuit. Bird argues that Beverly Hills violated the City’s own rules when it failed to hold appropriate hearings regarding their impounding of Birds, failed to state any facts that would support their passing of an “urgency” ordinance, and failed to meet open meeting requirements.
“Bird wants to work closely with every city in which we operate, and we are proud of the partnerships we have built across the country and the world,” said David Estrada. “It is amazing to see cities fighting hard to make progress toward mitigating the very serious problems associated with climate change and traffic congestion. We want to be part of that progress — but we ask to receive fair treatment as a business and service under the eyes of the law. California cities are obligated to follow the California Vehicle Code, CEQA, and the U.S. Constitution when establishing local rules for e-scooter sharing services such as Bird.”
Bird is a last-mile electric vehicle sharing company dedicated to bringing affordable, environmentally-friendly transportation solutions to communities across the world. It provides a fleet of shared electric scooters that can be accessed via smartphone. Birds give people looking to take a short journey across town, or down that “last mile” from the subway or bus to their destination, a way to do so that does not pollute the air or add to traffic. Bird works closely with the cities in which it operates to be a reliable and affordable transportation option for people who live and work there. Founded in 2017 by transportation pioneer Travis VanderZanden, Bird is headquartered in Venice, Calif., and is rapidly expanding around the world. Follow Bird on Instagram (www.instagram.com/bird), on Twitter at@BirdRide, and find more information at www.bird.co.