Bird, the electric scooter-share company, launched in Baltimore today, bringing more than 70 rides to the Inner Harbor area and Fells Point. Like other dockless bike-share companies launched elsewhere in the country, riders can pick up and drop off Birds pretty much wherever.
People looking for a side hustle can sign up to charge the Bird scooters at their home. Chargers receive $5 to $20 per scooter depending on where they locate the Bird, and as journalist Taylor Lorenz wrote in The Atlantic, the culture of rounding of the scooters to power them up has become lucrative but also competitive and kind of crazy.
If you’re interested in riding a scooter, download the app in Apple’s App Store or Google Play. A ride costs $1 to unlock the scooter and then 15 cents per minute after that. A scooter can go 15 miles in a single charge. The scooters can only be used during the day and are dropped off after being recharged at 7 a.m.
Per the instructions on the app, riders have to use the camera on their smartphone to unlock the scooter. And FYI: it’s BYO helmet.
Starting it up is fairly simple: Put up the kickstand, kick start three times like you would with a skateboard and then use the throttle on the handlebar. According to various reports, the Birds top out at about 15 miles per hour. Braking is similar to riding a bike–just squeeze the brake on the left side of the handlebar.
Here’s footage of one in action shot by Bikemore executive director Liz Cornish.
— Liz Cornish (@lizbybike) June 28, 2018
“Ride in bike lanes when available, and avoid pedestrians on sidewalk,” the app advises. But according to the local rules section of the tutorial, riding on sidewalks is not allowed. Other regulations prohibit riding “in public parking structures,” without a helmet or without a driver’s license.
To end your ride, tap a button in the app.
In some places where Bird or dockless bike shares has launched, cities have encountered a problem that Mashable recently referred to as “bike litter”–that is, the rides end up all over sidewalks because people leave them wherever.
Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden has instituted a daily pickup plan to combat this, and called for dedicating $1 from each vehicle toward the construction of more bike lanes.
As of this writing, here’s where all the Birds are:
A rep for the company says the fleet of scooters will get bigger as ridership expands.
Ride safe, Baltimore.
This post has been updated.