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How dangerous are Cleveland’s new Bird electric scooters?

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The concept is fun: come across a Bird electric scooter, unlock it with your phone, take off to your destination and leave it wherever you want.

It’s also incredibly dangerous.

Flocks of Bird electric scooters, which can go up to 15 miles per hour, were seen Friday for the first time in Cleveland. Over the past year, they’ve popped up in 32 other American cities and Paris, according to the company’s website.

Founded by former Lyft and Uber executive Travis VanderZanden, the dockless scooter-share company charges users $1 to rent a Bird, and then fifteen cents a minute to ride it. It has a few major rules for riders, not to mention a user agreement that comes with fine print.

When a user learns “How to Ride” on the Bird app, they are told to ride in streets and bike lanes, – “do not ride on sidewalks” – to park by bike racks when

available and to bring your own helmet to stay safe when you ride, “required by law;” Bird offers a free helmet for riders who pay for shipping.

Riders also agree to being at least 18 years old, the only person riding the scooter and riding without a briefcase, backpack or bag.

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to foresee riders taking liberties with those rules.

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