Scooter Company Bird Offers to Pay Cities to Build Bike Lanes (8-2-18)

Image: Bird.co

Bird, the scooter start-up that became a Silicon Valley unicorn seemingly overnight, wants to chip in to fund bike lanes in cities.

Patrick Sisson at Curbed reports that the company has pledged to contribute $1 per scooter per day into a fund that will pay for projects that carve out street space where its users can ride without getting intimidated by drivers or aggravating people on sidewalks. The company urged other scooter and bike-share firms to do the same.

Bird will also convene a “Global Safety Advisory Board” led by David Strickland, the former head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and currently a major lobbyist for the self-driving car industry. The advisory board will make safety recommendations addressing walking and biking as well as scooters, Sisson reports.

Read Full Story Here (via StreestBlog USA)

DC Cyclists Hoping For Crackdown On Safety Issues (8-3-18)

Some District cyclists are calling upon police to issue more accident reports and ticket more drivers parked in the bike lane — all in the name of safety.

Uber Is Adding Safety Features It Resisted For Years (4-12-18)

Uber will add a “911” button and bolster driver screenings, according to an announcement from CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Thursday. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

After years of resisting major changes pushed by riders and government regulators, Uber announced upgrades this week it said are aimed at keeping its U.S. ride-hail customers safe.

The mobility company will add an emergency 911 feature akin to a “panic button” — a type of enhanced 911 that connects passengers directly with emergency personnel, and allows them to share their location with the operator. The company said it also will bolster driver screening by mandating annual reviews of background checks to ensure drivers remain in compliance with its standards. And it plans to allow riders to share their trip information with up to five “trusted contacts” on every trip so there are multiple sets of eyes to ensure rides go smoothly, the company said.

The changes, expected to be in place this summer, were unveiled as part of a broad package of changes that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said represent a push to “double down on safety in our app” and “strengthen our screening process.”

Read Full Story Here (via The Washington Post)

Uber And Lyft Announce Creepy New Ride-Share Cartel (2-5-18)

To protect their business from the disruption they pioneered, Uber and Lyft are now making the same arguments about safety and regulation that they used to rail against. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

And when there were no more cab cartels to crush, Uber and Lyft decided to organize their own. The ride-share giants just announced a new regulatory cabal to lobby the government on autonomous vehicles and to smother new competitors in the cradle.

Along with more than a dozen other companies, the pair signed something called the “shared mobility principles for livable cities.” Most of the outlined principles are feel-good, tech gobbledygook. The 10th is terrifying: “autonomous vehicles in dense urban areas should be operated only in shared fleets.”

“Due to the transformational potential of autonomous vehicle technology, it is critical that all AVs are part of shared fleets, well-regulated, and zero emission,” they declared in a statement, adding that sharing the ride-share fleets would “maximize public safety” while also ensuring “that maintenance and software upgrades are managed by professionals.”

Everyone knew automation was coming. Eliminate the driver from the ride-share equation — costs dip and profits increase. Ubers without drivers have already been picking up passengers in downtown Pittsburgh for more than a year. But they just don’t want anyone else to have this technology.

Read Full Story Here (via Washington Examiner)