I feel pretty lucky that I work around an area that Bird scooters have been proliferating. The idea of a motorized scooter I can zip around on is essentially any man’s (or woman’s, maybe) childhood fantasy. I had a friend who had an elaborate gas powered skateboard contraption for no particular reason other than it being neat. Now with Bird scooters around, as an adult we can just grab one and ride it around whenever we want.
If you don’t know what a Bird scooter is, think Uber but for electric Razor-style scooters (two wheels, stand up handle bars) that you can just walk up to, unlock with an app, and ride wherever you want. It costs $1 upfront to unlock the scooter, and then $0.15 a minute after that. In my experience a ride of about a mile will cost you around $2 and save you about 18 minutes of time depending on how fast you walk.
You’re supposed to wear a helmet, and only ride it in the street, two things that are hard to adhere to. One, I don’t have a helmet and I haven’t ordered the free helmet that Bird provides riders; two, sometimes riding on a street that is busy and doesn’t have a bike lane is just too scary. I don’t think they should be regularly ridden on a sidewalk but sometimes it is just safer that way.
Unfortunately as an adult the novelty of an electric scooter wears off pretty quick, plus it’s not like it really hauls ass, but it is still a valuable tool to use when I want to eat lunch someplace a bit too far away to walk and don’t want to go to the trouble of grabbing my car. There’s usually a scooter available across the street from my job, so it’s not too hard to find one. I also haven’t had problems (yet) with someone else grabbing the parked scooter when I’m lunching so that’s nice.
Either way these things are pretty cool and I hope they stick around.