California-based micromobility unicorn Bird offers dockless electric scooters to its users via a vehicle-sharing platform. It works with cities, universities, and partners across the globe to provide a sustainable transportation option and, in a way, help people reduce reliance on cars.
Earlier in March 2021, we reported that the micromobility startup decided to invest $150M (approx €125.74M) in Europe to help cities remain car-free as they start to ease restrictions following the pandemic.
Bird launches Community Safety Zones
In a recent development, Bird announced that it is launching its Community Safety Zones today – a new safety-focused initiative of geo-fenced zones around high-pedestrian areas like schools and hospitals that will automatically force Bird scooters to slow down to help keep all road users safe.
This is all possible via adaptable geofencing technology that Bird claims to have helped pioneer for the micromobility industry.
Geofenced slow-riding zones
According to the company, Bird scooters passing through these new Community Safety Zones will automatically reduce their maximum allowable speed to 8 MPH / 13 KPH and trigger an in-app message explaining the reason for the deceleration. The areas will also be clearly visible on the in-app Bird service map, allowing riders to plan their routes accordingly.
The company is working with cities to extend its network of geofenced slow riding zones.
Speaking on the development, Jenn Fox of the Vision Zero Network, says, “It is fantastic when companies innovate to support community traffic safety. Community Safety Zones can support localities working to improve safety for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. We’re impressed by the initiative and Bird’s efforts to listen to local communities and respond to community feedback.”
The Vision Zero Network is helping communities across the US to address the crisis of 40,000 traffic deaths a year and millions more injuries. The organisation’s goal is “safe mobility for all”.
The new Community Safety Zones will be piloted in Miami, Marseille, and Madrid. Based on the results of these first programs, Bird will work with elected officials and community organisations over the coming weeks to implement new geospeed areas across all of its 250+ global partner cities. Depending on the results, the company could potentially expand the program to include parks and shopping centres.
Other key safety benefits of micromobility
Last month, in July 2021, the company launched Safe Start technology, a new in-app checkpoint designed to discourage people from riding under the influence. With this technology, late night riders can be prevented from unlocking a Bird scooter until they have verified that they are not under the influence and are ‘OK’ to handle a vehicle.
Jenn Fox of the Vision Zero Network, mentions, “Bird’s Safe Start and Community Safety Zones are an example of technology initiatives that can support safe systems, respond to community concerns, and solve mobility challenges at the same time.”
Bird’s Safe Start follows the company’s other recent safety initiatives, including Ride Better campaign, Safety School video series, and skid detection feature designed to help detect and respond to worn tires or dangerous and non-compliant riding behaviour.