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Hurricane Florence: Bikes, scooters, tables, patio furniture could become projectiles in wind

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Deas Fenderson of Bird scooters gives a quick tutorial on how to use the dockless, electric scooters in downtown Raleigh
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Deas Fenderson of Bird scooters gives a quick tutorial on how to use the dockless, electric scooters in downtown Raleigh

Birds have been a big hit in Raleigh this summer, but with Hurricane Florence approaching, city leaders don’t want the electric scooters taking flight.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh says 39 mph winds could arrive in central North Carolina by Thursday afternoon.

And when it’s windy, loose items can become projectiles.

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A LimeBike sits on the sidewalk on Parrish Street on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 11, 2018. Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan dvaughan@heraldsun.com

In downtown Durham and Raleigh, bikeshares and scooters are usually scattered on the streets. Both cities want them stored until the storm passes.

In Raleigh, Transportation Director Michael Moore asked California-based Bird to collect its scooters ahead of the storm.

Allie Jacobs, one of the “juicers” who pick up the scooters each night to charge them, confirmed they were holding on to the Birds until at least Sunday.

Durham Transportation Director Terry Bellamy said the city has contacted the LimeBike and Spin companies. At least one’s working on it.

“Lime is proactively removing our scooters and bikes off the streets as well as alerting our juicers and riders in communities that could be impacted by Hurricane Florence,” Lime spokeswoman Mary Caroline Pruitt said. “We are doing whatever we can to help our local communities stay safe.”

On Tuesday evening, a few LimeBikes remained in downtown Durham. Efforts to reach Spin were unsuccessful.

Durham City-County Emergency Management Director Jim Groves said items around houses need to be out of the way when winds come. That includes grills, patio furniture and recycling bins.

“Think about what’s around your house that could become a projectile, because it probably will,” Groves said.

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City of Raleigh Transportation Department employees removed tables from City Plaza on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh Wednesday morning ahead of Hurricane Florence, which is expected to bring wind and rain by Thursday night. Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan dvaughan@heraldsun.com

City employees are also collecting and storing all public-space furniture for the duration of the storm.

On Wednesday morning, workers from Raleigh’s Transportation Department removed tables from outside Jimmy John’s on Fayetteville Street.

Bob Hagh of Downtown Raleigh Alliance said they are asking dining and retail establishments to bring in any A-frames, tables and chairs.

In addition, the alliance will suspend its Downtown Ambassador team from 6 p.m. Thursday to 10 a.m.Saturday, or until the hurricane threat is over.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: 919-419-6563, @dawnbvaughan
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