GREAT FALLS - Great Falls recently received an alternative form of transportation — electric scooters.
The popularity of the Bird-branded scooters is growing every day as residents find new ways to explore the community.
“From what we’ve seen, they’ve been a great addition to our community, and we are excited to have them come in,” said Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce president Shane Etzwiler. “I see people jump on them all the time and buzz around town. It’s just a great option to get to and from places.”
With gas prices at an all-time high, many folks around town are worried about what that means for their wallets.
"Well, it sucks you know. It’s just going up and up and up. That’s a big chunk of change. I mean I’m putting gas in here twice, maybe three times a week now when before I could put forty bucks in and fill it up," Tristan Lane of Great Falls noted.
But now, with snow (mostly) behind us and increasingly warm temperatures, the Bird scooters are proving to be a fun alternative that is likely to save money.
“Gives people something else to do outside, get out on the River’s Edge Trail or wherever else and ride the scooters,” said Great Falls Police Department Lt. Tony Munkres.
While he loves the idea of the town scooters, he also urged people to be responsible and safe while riding, "be safe, wear helmets, have fun, be careful of traffic, look both ways, those sorts of things. Just like anything else you would do on a bicycle.”
When the scooters debuted in Great Falls in July 2021, Lt. Doug Mahlum of the GFPD said, "The GFPD would like the community to know that all City of Great Falls Ordinances and Montana State Statutes, applicable to bicycles, are applicable to these types of scooters. We want the community to be safe and follow all rules and regulations."
The City of Great Falls said in a news release that electric scooters can be used on roads and in bike lanes and have a maximum speed of 15 mph. Scooters must be parked out of the way of pedestrians and must never block driveways. Riders must be at least 18 years old access the scooters.
Bird scooters generally cost $1 to unlock; the per-minute cost to ride varies between cities. According to the Bird app as of March 30, the cost in Great Falls is 42¢ per minute, and the minimum per-ride cost is $3.50.
In order to rent one of the scooters, you must download the Bird app and follow the instructions. Click here for details.