June 18, 2018

Electric Scooter Share Startup Arrives In Indianapolis

A screenshot of the Bird smartphone app.

A screenshot of the Bird smartphone app.

An electric scooter share program from the west coast company Bird launched in Indianapolis on Friday.

Scooters are available for rental via the Bird smartphone app. They’re concentrated in the downtown area, but can be left anywhere when the ride is over. The scooters are intended for short distance travel and have a maximum speed of 15 mph.

At night the scooters are collected, charged, and released in the morning.

Indianapolis joins a number of other cities with the service, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Bird spokesperson Ken Bear says the company wants to work closely with the city to receive feedback.

“As soon as we launch we are opening a dialogue with different officials in Indianapolis, and down the road, if Indianapolis may want to set up any new regulatory frameworks we’ll work closely with them and make sure it’s something that will work for everyone,” Bear said. “We also share our data with the city so they can make informed decisions.”

The service has fallen under scrutiny in some cities for causing sidewalks to become cluttered with abandoned scooters. Bird now requires riders to take a photo of their scooter when the ride is over to assure it’s properly placed.

The company announced they will only place new scooters when there is enough demand and will remove scooters if they’re not used regularly. And it says it will allocate $1 per vehicle per day to city governments to build bike lanes and promote safe riding.

In Indianapolis the law requires riders to wear a helmet, and Bird will send a free helmet to riders who request one via the app.

Bird is predicted to be the fastest growing startup to reach a $2 billion valuation.

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