I love the Bird electric scooter rental service. There are dozens of them in and around my neighborhood in Oakland, California, and they just make getting around so much easier.
The influx of scooters by companies such as Bird, Lime, and others, are causing quite a bit of controversy in major cities, especially along the coasts. Some people think they’re an eyesore — as though some electric scooters lining the sidewalk is somehow worse than anything else a big city has to offer — while others think they’re inherently unsafe or annoying to deal with when driving or walking.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, at least at first. I didn’t think they were bad, but I also didn’t quite understand why so many people loved them or why big cities were embracing them with open arms.
Then I learned the rules and found out how much good they’re doing for the community at large. Let’s face it, major cities are cramped, hectic, and absolutely filthy. These fancy little two-wheeled gadgets save lots of car trips, making cities a bit greener in the process. Is it a perfect system? No. Is it a step, or rather, a scoot, in the right direction? Absolutely.
With that in mind, here’s a dozen things I’ve learned about Bird scooters in my time with them.
- You have to be 18 to ride a Bird scooter. Not all scooter companies have these rules. That’s one of the reason’s I like Bird best.
- You have to scan your license (to prove age). No joy rides for kids willing to take the risk.
- You’re supposed to wear a helmet. Don’t have one? They’ll send you a $40 one for free. How can you beat that?
- They’re not allowed on sidewalks, so they shouldn’t impact foot traffic in any way besides lessening it.
- They go 15 mph, and up to 15 miles on a single charge. That’s plenty for short trips to the store around the corner.
- The app on your smartphone tells you how much battery life there is, so you don’t waste time looking for a charged one. Convenience is a plus here!
- Since Bird launched in 2017, people have taken more than 10 million rides.
- The average ride is 1.5 miles.
- That’s kept more than 14 million pounds of CO2 emissions out of the air. All those car-rides-not-taken sure do add up.
- The company gives back $1 per scooter, per day, to the community to repair roads, create bike lanes, etc. It helps build infrastructure while keeping things green. Win/win in my book.
- Bird pays people to pick up and charge the scooters, and then return them to Bird “nests” so people can use them again. It’s a slick system that just seems to work.
- I was able to pick it up and ride comfortably in about two minutes. No learning curve here!
All this info and more is part of the upcoming City Solutions special report on CNN (of which I am a part of), so keep an eye out!