It’s everywhere… young people on Bird Scooters zipping in and out of traffic, riding everywhere they please, ignoring all the rules, and risking death or dismemberment. So far I haven’t heard of any accidents but it’s a matter of time.
The Bird Scooter instructions clearly state that helmets are required. Bird will supply free helmets. But there is no enforcement. Go to the Bird Scooter web site and look at this: https://www.instagram.com/bird/. Photo after photo of ecstatic Bird riders. Note the almost complete lack of helmets. Here’s an example from their web site:
As you drive around Santa Monica (and any number of other cities) you increasing encounter these happily oblivious adventurers. I have seen hundreds. Only one was wearing a helmet. Not that it would have done them any good in a competition with almost any kind of powered vehicle. Bird vs. Cadillac? Wanna bet?
What is their typical trajectory? Anywhere they want to go. Sidewalks are OK, despite the rules to the contrary. Drive at night? Nothing in the rules to forbid this, along with no reflectors on the scooters. Just floor the thing up to its 15 mph maximum and let it rip.
Police Not Happy
The police hate the Bird Scooters, and justifiably. These mini-juggernauts have squeezed between existing ordinances, to the menace of civilized society. Two wheeled Birdies are multiplying like cockroaches. They are inexpensive, fun to drive, convenient and useful. Also deadly. It will be interesting to see what local governments can do about them.
So far we have not been particularly successful in limiting illegal bicycle use. Kids drive on the sidewalks, the wrong side of the street, and wherever they want. There are laws against this, but the police have better things to do. My wife and I talked to the chief of police about this, and found out first hand that the bicycle menace is just something we have to endure. A while back an intrepid bicycle rider speeding on a sidewalk demolished the side of my car when I turned into a driveway. I was turning slowly and suddenly my view of the world was blocked with a combination of bicycle and rider. The kid picked himself up, hopped back on his bike and drove away. I drove to the body shop.
So what are we going to do about the proliferating Bird Scooters? Probably nothing. We will enact some ordinances, arrest a few of the more flagrant offenders, and learn to put up with the added dangers. As is we needed more problems.