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Bird Scooters: How They Work, Pros, Cons, and More

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Key Takeaways

  • Bird Scooters: Electric, shared mobility vehicles for urban use, accessible via an app.
  • Availability: Widely available in the US, UK, Australia, and parts of Europe.
  • Cost: Initial unlocking fee plus per-minute charge; costs vary by location and time.
  • Limitations: Safety concerns, restricted areas, and occasional tech issues.

What Are Bird Scooters?

Bird scooters are electric vehicles you can access through a smartphone app. They’re part of a shared mobility service built by Bird Company Inc.

These scooters are designed for short urban commutes, perfect for bustling cities. Bird scooters have lightweight frames, are easy to ride, and some of them even come with high-speed options.

To start your Bird ride, download the app, find available scooters nearby, and scan the QR code on the scooter. Once you scan it, the app will give you prompts on how to unlock it. When you’re done following the steps, the instructions page will close and you’ll be good to go.

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, parking the scooter is as easy as tapping a button on the Bird app. This will end the trip and make the scooter available for the next rider.

Bird Scooters Offer Unmatched Eco-Friendliness

Bird scooter company is one of the few ride-sharing platforms that operates 100% carbon-free. By relying entirely on electricity, Bird significantly reduces carbon emissions in all the cities it operates in.

This eco-friendliness can also be observed in the scooters’ compact size, as you can fit ten of them into one traditional parking spot. Just think of all the traffic and pollution that are removed from busy streets and neighborhoods.

As a sign of dedication toward sustainability, Bird has also partnered with many local organizations and initiatives. This way, it provides mobility in the cities it operates and pushes toward creating an impact for the communities it serves.

Ridesharing With Bird Scooters

Bird’s infrastructure is perfectly optimized for the demands of big city life.

Thanks to this unique model, Bird scooters have already expanded their presence across the entire world. Today, they’re available in the US, UK, Australia, and many parts of Europe.

This reach has even made companies like Lyft and Uber explore their scooter initiatives in hopes of adapting to eco-friendly transport in various cities.

an image of bird scooters lined up on the sidewalk

How Much Do Bird Rides Cost?

Bird has a base price for unlocking an electric scooter, followed by a per-minute fee for riding. The initial unlocking fee ranges from $1 to $2, while the per-minute cost varies between 15 and 40 cents.

The company sometimes charges extra by incorporating local taxes or surcharges, depending on the country of use.

Some areas also feature a dynamic price point during peak hours, leading to increased costs per ride.

You can pay for your electric scooter either through your card or by charging the Bird app’s prepaid wallet balance. This adds to the platform’s convenience, reducing problems that typically occur in ridesharing systems that operate with cash.

Why Should You Give Bird Scooters a Try?

Bird scooters are great for many reasons, but users especially love the following:

  • The scooter will let you ride through city streets, avoid traffic jams, and get rid of parking hassles.
  • Using an electric scooter like Bird will trim your transportation costs, as you only have to pay for the distance traveled.
  • Electric scooters are sustainable, as they promote cleaner air, reduce carbon emissions, and decrease pollution.
  • Bird has an intuitive app that simplifies the entire riding process, from locating available scooters to unlocking and using them.
  • Bird scooters have swappable batteries, so you can easily charge them without any equipment.
  • Bird’s rider ecosystem also involves “chargers” — people who keep the scooter stock charged for the public. They locate, pick up, and charge the scooter fleet overnight, so they’ll be ready for you immediately in the morning.

Where Do Bird Scooters Fall Short?

There’s no denying that electric scooters are great to get around, but this comes at a price.

  • Electric scooters like Bird have many safety concerns around compliance with transportation laws. Riders sometimes face restrictions on where they can ride or park the scooters.
  • In some cities, Bird has introduced designated parking zones and geo-fencing technologies that limit riding areas.
  • The electric scooter community is always dealing with sidewalk clutter. Riders tend to park or “dump” their scooters on sidewalks, restricting free access for pedestrians.
  • People using electric scooters find that tech issues are bound to happen, with users reporting occasional battery faults and app glitches.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

After experimenting with Bird scooters for daily commuting, I’ve concluded they’re more suitable for casual, short-distance travel rather than a practical daily transportation solution.

While fun, and even sometimes useful, for leisurely rides, the cost efficiency is questionable for regular commutes.

On a recent vacation in Nashville, a 1.5 mile ride cost over $18 – significantly higher than other modes of transport like biking or public transit.

Additionally, the scooters’ speed limitations and frequent misinterpretation of riding zones resulted in frustrating slowdowns.

In short, Bird scooters are a fun mode of transportation that I suggest using occasionally while traveling, but for daily commuting, more traditional and cost-effective methods are better options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Helmets Provided With Bird Scooters?

No, helmets aren’t provided with the scooters, but users are recommended to use their own for maximum protection. Many cities also have specific regulations that oblige helmet use, so you wouldn’t want to risk it.

How Old Do I Have to Be for Bird Scooters?

Bird requires users to be at least 18 years old to ride its electric scooters. Still, some cities have their own age requirement regulations, so it’s best to check those out first.

Wrapping Up

As urban areas seek eco-friendly riding alternatives, Bird scooters present an ideal solution to that. Bird’s fleet of scooters is also efficient, easy to ride in, and ideal for jam-packed cities.

If you’re ready to find a more elegant supplement to your car and ride with ease, style, and eco-friendliness, these scooters are waiting for you.

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