Dockless scooters show up in Providence without warning

An example of the dockless scooters that showed up in Providence and other New England cities. (AP PHOTO/ Jennifer McDermott)

Three New England cities are figuring out how to respond after a California company left dozens of electric rental scooters on public sidewalks without warning.

The scooters appeared Friday morning in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Massachusetts cities of Cambridge and Somerville.

The company that operates the scooters, Los Angeles-based Bird Rides, Inc., didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday.

It’s one of several companies competing to expand services for “dockless” scooters or bicycles that can be rented using a smartphone app and left almost anywhere. Some cities have sought to regulate them over safety and nuisance concerns.

A spokesman for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says officials found out about the scooters when they appeared outside City Hall before dawn Friday.

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