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.
Once an electric scooter has been released into the urban wild, its life might best be likened to that of a medieval serf — backbreaking labor followed by the strong possibility of an ignominious end.
Scooters that reach their expiration date after being worn down merely by inclement weather, overuse and hazardous potholes are the lucky ones. Many others can expect their final moments to be undeniably barbaric.
Some face death by bonfire, and others are flung into the ocean or tossed from the top of parking garages and bridges, shattering on concrete sidewalks or disappearing into murky waters below. Scooters have also been intentionally run over by trucks or torn apart — limb by electronic limb — by angry drunks and rage-filled teenagers screaming abusive epithets.
At one point, a San Francisco repair shop was inundated with as many as 100 scooters a day, forcing owner Michael Ghadieh to hire three new mechanics.
“The angry people, they were angry,” Ghadieh told CNET. “People cut cables, flatten tires, they were thrown in the bay. Someone was out there physically damaging these things.”
There’s been some loud griping about the electric scooters that started making their way to D.C. sidewalks this winter, but those squeaky wheels are not representative of the District’s broader feelings, according to a new survey.
About 72 percent of Washingtonians have a positive view of e-scooters, putting the city near the middle of those surveyed by Populus. The transportation data and analytics firm surveyed 7,000 people for its findings (most of those surveyed had not taken the scooters for a spin). As you can see below, D.C.’s high rate of good vibes for the two-wheelers is not unusual, per the survey.
Uber and Lyft are expanding their vision of ride-sharing to include not just cars but bicycles, electric bicycles, and electric scooters.
Uber jumped in first, adding the electric bikeshare company Jump to its app earlier this year in San Francisco and then acquiring the company outright in March for an estimated $100 million.
Lyft earlier this month bought Motivate, the nation’s largest bikeshare company, with operations in such cities as Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The value of the deal was estimated at $250 million.
And California-based Lime announced recently that its bikes and scooters would also begin appearing on the Uber app and that several investors, including Uber, Fidelity, and Alphabet, the parent of Google, had invested $335 million in the company. The investment suggested the company is now valued at more than $1 billion.
“Our investment and partnership in Lime is another step towards our vision of becoming a one-stop shop for all your transportation needs,” saidRachel Holt, an Uber vice president.
Tech giants Uber and Google-parent Alphabet offered their blessing to the red-hot electric scooter industry this week. The companies announced on Monday that they are leading a group of investors pumping $335 million into scooter-sharing startup Lime in a fundraising round that values Lime at a whopping $1.1 billion.
The news came on the same day as reports that rival scooter startup Bird had raised roughly $300 million, for a valuation north of $2 billion. Another scooter company, San Francisco-based Spin, is reportedlyraising $125 million in blockchain-based funds.
Between those massive valuations and a deluge of recent media attention, Lime and Bird are two of the biggest names in the burgeoning scooter market. But are these buzzy startups really worth billions of dollars?