ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Several videos taken by a downtown Abilene resident showed how reckless some e-scooter riders can be when the sun goes down. The riders in his videos follow, cut and harass Abilene drivers.
“I’ve waited from May until now, hoping the situation would get better as we moved on. But that’s just not the case, the situation has actually gotten worse and now people are getting hurt,” said Kayla Belle Christianson, tenant of Wooten Apartments.
Christianson’s observations led her to the conclusion that better regulation and better public education could improve the situation.
“There has to be some application because now,” Christianson pleaded. “It’s free for all, it really is.”
Luckily for this downtown Abilene resident, the app isn’t far off. On Thursday, Abilene Deputy Police Chief Richard Waggoner made it clear the department is well aware of what is happening downtown.
“We’re all in favor of people using them as designed,” Chief Waggoner assured. “If you don’t do it right, we don’t want you to do it, and we will take enforcement action if necessary… We are considering hiring additional patrols to work downtown.”
As part of their investigation into the misuse of the scooters, Chief Wagoner told KTAB/KRBC the department had entered into an “open dialogue” with Bird Corporate – in hopes of determining who was riding each scooter and when.
“There are certain legal requirements, subpoenas and the like,” Chief Wagoner said. “They [Bird] were willing to help us with this.
Although the Bird app has a built-in age restriction, the security does not seem to be sufficient to prevent the transport from being in the hands of minors.
“If it’s 13, 14 and 15 year olds, which they are, they mess it up,” Christianson advised. “They do it so we can’t have nice things.”
Although the problems with the Bird pilots seemed to fade away at sunrise, Christianson noticed and documented it in his videos.
“During the day, I saw people with helmets driving them safely. I know Wooten Hotel residents who drive them to and from work,” Christianson said.
Abileneans like Christianson have recently called for better regulation and education in hopes of preventing the situation from getting worse.
“A ticket is the least of your worries,” added Chief Wagoner. “You don’t want to end up being hit by a car or being seriously injured or dead.”