This season, forget about looking up to watch birds soar through the California blue skies – you’ll want to keep your eyes on the lookout for the Birds zooming through the streets of Santa Monica, Westwood, Venice, and UCLA instead. And there’s an ever-increasing flock of them. Headquartered in Venice, the Bird shareable electric scooter is a way-cool, easily-accessible concept for getting around town that has already raised hundreds of millions in capital to soar in other states and other countries as well.
Here’s How it Works
Once you’ve download the Bird app off their website and created your account, find a Bird in a nearby bicycle rack that has been parked by a previous user and tap the button on the app and then scan the QR code within the app to unlock it. Put your US-DOT-compliant helmet on (you have to bring your own and you have to wear one — it’s the law!) and Vroom! You’re off to ride safely to your destination at 15 mph! You can only ride in the streets and designated bike lanes (not on sidewalks)! When you’ve reached your destination, park the Bird near a bike rack, lock it, and your ride (and the minute-keeper timer) have ended!
Pros and Cons
As the local “go-to” choice for transportation around town, there are several factors to consider before you park your BMW or Mini Cooper for the afternoon to hop on one of these Birds. In no particular order, the following points can be viewed as either pros or cons ~ depending upon your perspective:
- You have to wear a helmet when riding a Bird. If you don’t have one and don’t want to buy one, you can rent one from the company and they’ll ship it to you if you agree to pay the shipping costs. If you choose to risk going without one in Santa Monica, for example, don’t be surprised when you get slapped with a $190 ticket!
- Birds are dockless so you don’t have to look for a specified “nesting” or “docking” station when you are done riding it.
- The charger on the Bird lasts about 15 miles – so if you plan to go further or return to where you first picked up your scooter, you may have to swap it for another Bird mid-journey.
- Birds “nest” around dusk when they are charged overnight; they are available again around 7 a.m. the next morning.
- They are little and compact, making them easily maneuverable between vehicles; however, this also makes the scooters more vulnerable to not being seen by already-distracted drivers.
- With the influx of Birds, many streets are littered with stray Birds – often blocking designated pedestrian pathways.
- The scooters are tracked right within the app, making it super easy for you to see where you are and how much battery life your Bird has left.
- You’re not legally permitted to ride the Bird on streets where the speed limit is over 25 mph unless there is a designated bike lane on the street.
- You have to be at least 18 years of age, have a valid driver’s license, and obey all the safety and traffic laws.
- The Bird is meant for solo flights; you can’t have someone ride on one with you.
Riding the Bird scooter is a blast; you can simply try it out with your friends and family and soar your “flock” over to your favorite eatery or coffee shop. For an initial $1.00 to ride the scooter, plus 15 cents per minute to use it, this is an affordable and fun new mode of public transportation!