OTTUMWA — There’s a new way to move around Ottumwa.

Electric scooter company Bird Rides has launched its app-based e-scooter program in town. The scooters can be used on roads and in bike lanes with a maximum speed of 15 mph. Riders must be at least 18 years old to access the scooters. The vehicles must be parked out of the way of pedestrians, the must never block driveways, riders are encouraged to wear helmets, and they are required to obey all standard road rules.

Bird offers several programs to fit all budgets. The community pricing program offers a 50% discount to low-income riders, Pell gran recipients, select local nonprofit and community organizations, veterans and senior citizens. To sign up for this special pricing, download the Bird app and email proof of eligibility to access@bird.co.

The company also provides free rides for health care workers and emergency personnel. Eligible riders can sign up for this benefit by emailing a copy of their medical identification card, name and phone number to together@bird.co. Eligible riders will receive two 30-minute rides per day “for as long as it takes to help our communities recover from this global health crisis,” reads a release from the city.

Bird’s third mode of riding is Community Mode, which allows anyone with a Bird account to report or provide feedback on vehicle-related issues, including poorly parked or damaged scooters in their area. This mode can be accessed by tapping on the yield sign on the bottom left of the app.

This program comes to Ottumwa at no cost to the city. The city negotiated a contract with Bird to make sure the program operates safely while providing a benefit to Ottumwans. To provide feedback to city staff, call or email Zach Simonson at 641-683-0694 or simonsonz@ottumwa.us.

Those with questions or concerns about the e-scooter — or if you encounter an improperly parked scooters — Bird can be reached at 866-205-2442 or hello@bird.co. More information about the Bird company can be found on their website, www.bird.co, and on their blog at www.bird.co/blog.Simonson at 641-683-0694 or at simonsonz@ottumwa.us.

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